Everyday, many people goes out of their house to make money, be it through active means or passive means. However, after making money, many do not think about what will happen to their monies, investments, CPF, assets and insurance after death.
Life and death is part and parcel of life and as much as it is a taboo topic in Asian Singapore, being prepared beforehand solves a lot of problems.
The Importance of a Will
This chapter contains purely my own opinion and observation as I am not that well-versed in will writing, therefore, please reserve your difficult questions for legal professionals. As for the easy questions, I guess, ask them as well.
Many people avoids the topic of death, therefore, are unwilling to make a will. Or they feel that they are not rich, and therefore, they don’t find the need to write a will. Some will feel that they are young, and therefore, they have not thought about writing a will.
These beliefs, are incorrect beliefs. Everyone should write a will, regardless of age and number of assets. Unless special circumstance discussed below.
The interesting thing about this era is that due to the government’s continuous promotion of home ownership across the years, we can safely say that, once the baby boomer generation pass on, a significant number of Singaporean will receive some form of inheritance, just the HDB alone is a significant inheritance.
Even if there are no HDB and little assets, a 5-figure inheritance should also warrant a will. It may not amount to much, but then, it is still inheritance and requires handling.
Through a will written at a time of clear mind, it will give clear instructions on how assets will be allocated.
Therefore, ensuring that the wishes of the deceased be followed. Without a will, the Intestate Succession Act will be used, which could result in certain parties legally getting a bigger piece of the pie. (In unique situations, therefore, to prevent that, it is best to simply label out allocation clearly in a will.)
With a will, it prevents fights and disagreements as well. There are many dramas such as Heart of Greed, that are inspired from cases of infighting over inheritance. Although a will cannot completely prevent infighting, it can reduce disagreements of who gets what.
There are many ways to write a will, it is not expensive, you can simply find a lawyer to help you with it. OCBC even came up with a free will writing service. Or you can look up at this link for a lobang by sgbudgetbabe.
Therefore, do write a will. One thing to take note, if you write a will, make sure you let someone knows. If not, they wouldn’t know where to go to find your will.
Intestate Succession Act
If you don’t write a will, if you pass on, your assets will be distributed according to the Intestate Succession Act. Some folks believed that if you don’t have a will, the government will take all your assets, that is not true.
The odds of that happening is very small.
If you pass on without a will, your assets will be distributed according to the Intestate Succession Act, in which;
Note*: Issue means Children, both legitimate and legally adopted children. Illegitimate children are not included in this law. (Hence, unique situation, refer to previous chapter about will writing.)
And if all of these are exhausted, which actually mean a very long line of inheritance, only then will the estate be inherited by the government.
CPF and Insurance
These are the 2 things that will make things complicated, even if you have a will. This is because for CPF and Insurance, other than the will and Succession Act, there is one more thing, nomination.
Your will DOES NOT cover your CPF monies. Even if you list down in your will that you would like to bequest your CPF monies to your best kopi kaki, your CPF monies will first be distributed to your nominees before following the Intestate Succession Act.
Insurance works in a similar pattern. Your insurance claims will first go to the nominees. If there are no nominees, then the insurers will follow the Intestate Succession Act.
Important Information for Investors
These are important information for everyone especially investors as there will be an increasing accumulation of assets. As you may have gotten the flow from above, it is important for everyone to write a will, unless you are fine with following the Intestate Succession Act.
Other than learning to make correct investment decisions, it is important to think about estate planning as well. At least, it will reduce a lot of unnecessary trouble for your descendants.
*NOTE: The above do not apply to the Muslim community. The estate of a Muslim will be distributed according to the Muslim Law Act.