Myth Busted: Will-Writing Is Only For The Rich

We’re probably familiar with the Kdrama narrative of chaebol families fighting over company succession, wealth, and assets after the patriarch passes on. While most of us will don’t have that much wealth to worry about, it is a myth that will-writing is reserved for the rich and famous.  We all have people in our lives we care about, and it is important that they inherit what is needed for them to live a comfortable life – should we pass on.

Why is will-writing important?

A will is an essential part of estate planning, as it allows you to distribute your estate and wealth the way you want it to be done. If you pass on without writing a will, your assets will be distributed in accordance with Singapore’s law of intestate succession. The law states that if you are married without children, all your assets will go to your spouse. If you have children, your assets will be split equally between your spouse and children. This arrangement might work for some, but might not be ideal for those in other scenarios. For example if you, unfortunately, are not on good terms with your spouse, you might want your assets to go completely to your children. This can only be done by writing a will.
For a will to be valid, you must be above 21 years of age, be of sound mind, and have it signed by two witnesses over the age of 21 in your presence. You should include a list of all your assets, liabilities and clearly designate all beneficiaries. The will you’ve drawn up will have no effect during your lifetime and can be withdrawn or changed at any time up to the time of demise. It also does not restrict what you can or cannot do with your property during your lifetime, nor will it alter your tax position before death. Basically, a will is a set of instructions from you that will only come into effect after you are no longer around. However, do take note that assets such as CPF monies, joint tenancy properties, and section 73 of life insurance policies are unable to be included in a will.

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Will vs Nominations

But before you write your will, note that nominations are different from the will itself. It is a myth that a will is not necessary if you’ve done nominations for life insurances. While nominations are most applicable to insurance policies and CPF funds, your entire estate is much more than life insurances and CPF funds. It’s probably been a while since you’ve reviewed and updated your nominations. Pause and think – were the nominations done with your insurance agent a trust or revocable nomination?
Based on our findings, many have unknowingly made a trust nomination in the past, and are unable to alter them. A trust nomination is irrevocable, and you will not be able to make changes once the nomination is registered – this is what we mean by section 73 of life insurance policies. Today, most nominations made are revocable nominations.
Making a will requires much thought and consideration. It is a way of taking care of your loved ones after you pass on, and you definitely want to be as detailed as possible. We work with various law firms who will be able to advise you, should you have questions or need further guidance. Leave your contact with us, and our consultants will contact you shortly.

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