What is a Will? It is a legal document that conveys the distribution of your assets after your demise. In a few sheets of paper, you decide the distribution of your tangible and non-tangible assets and even the guardianship for your children below 21.

Now, hold your horses, don’t run for the hills! A will is not only relevant to high-net-worth individuals. Legacy (or estate) planning has no discrimination between income groups. Everyone above the age of 21 is encouraged to draft one.

Did you know, in a recent survey conducted by St. James Place, they uncovered that 62% of Singaporeans do not have a Will.

Now, that is a scary number! Are you one of the 62% yet to make some plans for the future? While the safety net for passing without a will is distributed according to Singapore’s intestate laws, the outcome may not be as desirable. Let us show you why.

What happens if you pass on without a will?

Your assets will be distributed according to the Intestate Succession Act without a will. This may not be ideal if you have specific beneficiaries you would like to provide for, especially the young and vulnerable. You may even have specific non-biological individuals you would like to care for, and without a will, they will not be included in the list of de facto beneficiaries.

The following table illustrates the fixed rules of distribution applicable to non-Muslims. Muslims will follow separate rules of distribution under Syariah Law.

Fig 1: Singapore Legal Advice – breakdown of asset distribution under the Intestate Succession Act.
Fig 1: Singapore Legal Advice – breakdown of asset distribution under the Intestate Succession Act.

1. Uncertainty & Confusion – Fuelling Family Feuds

A Will more than just conveys your intentions after your demise. It sets ease and guidance for your family, and without a Will, surviving family members often find themselves in a state of disorientation and confusion. They do not know how much you possess or where your assets are stored. All these back and forth are time-consuming, resulting in high legal costs that dilute your assets. At worst, family rivalry occurs as there are no clear directives and intentions.

2. Leaving the Young Unguarded – Uncertainty of Guardianship

Individuals under the vulnerable age of 21 are not legally empowered to own any assets or make decisions on their own. In the unfortunate situation that both parents pass on, the lack of a Will results in a long and tedious court process to decide guardianship.

It can be an unpleasant or even traumatic experience for your family. On this note, some people might feel that their partner may need help taking care of their children. You may also appoint a joint guardianship in your Will to cater for this.

3. Missing Out on Opportunities – To Leave Valuable Lessons

Lastly, you are declining the last opportunity to pass on what you hold dear to your loved ones. At heritance, above monetary assets, we view legacy planning as a tool to pass down life lessons and values. A person’s demise might sometimes be abrupt or expected, but nobody can ever be too prepared for death. Planning for wealth inheritance isn’t a momentary act but a continuous journey.

The Bright Side of Possessing a Will

A Will sheds light on many unexpected situations. From a functional point of view, it helps orientate your family better after your demise. On a personal note, it sets your heart at ease before and after your passing, knowing that the people you care about are well protected.

A well-designed Will involves plenty of thought on who, when, what and how. Most people would choose to allocate their assets “fairly” using ratios and percentages, but we implore you to think further about who needs it and who deserves it. Before you think about the monetary assets, consider the values and intangible capital you would like to pass down. Craft your Will around that consideration.

Although the Will cannot abolish the possibility of family conflicts, it can significantly lessen the likelihood.

How Can You Build and Enrich Your Will?

Writing a Will is a continuous process, an ongoing journey of refinement.

heritance empowers you to build a powerful Will that not only passes on your valuables but enables you to infuse life into a legal document. You will be able to pass on your life values to your next generation.


To find out more about the heritance app and functions, read them here.


Here are some suggestions to enrich your Will through the heritance App.

1. Set Conditions for Your Distribution

Everyone has specific values and life lessons they hold dear. You can execute it by encouraging your beneficiaries to work towards those values. For example, if you value hard work, you can set conditions to distribute your assets at various milestones of your children’s education journey.

This is easily achieved under the SmartWill function, whereby you allocate your bequests with specific instructions for your beneficiaries and executor.

2. Involve Your Appointed Individuals and Family Members

When drafting your Will, inform and obtain the consent of your executor/trustee/guardian and any other appointments so that your loved ones are aware of your Will and plans. Remember, preparing for your passing is not necessarily a sad or taboo affair. It may even bring opportunities for your family to bond closer and encourage family unity.

Using the Tribe function, you can quickly appoint the respective roles and inform them of their appointment at the click of a finger.

3. Include Some Memorabilia to Be Distributed

They always say the minor actions speak the loudest. It could be your favourite guitar or a memory that you hold so dearly onto. Include them and pass them on to the next generation to remind them of their heritage, your values, and pearls of wisdom. All these are essential as they are the intangibles that make up who we are. In generations to come, your memorabilia might even become a family heirloom!

Did you know? heritance’s Memory Time Capsules are included in your Smart Will. You no longer have to worry if your precious memories are left out or forgotten, as you can schedule for the App to send the time capsule at any appointed milestone.

Conclusion

People often say that it is still too early to plan for death, or they feel they do not have any assets worth passing down. We beg to differ; there is no time like the present to plan and set your heart at ease. And even if you may not have many valuables, you will surely have values and wisdom to pass down.  We cannot predict what may happen in the future, but we can avoid the pitfalls through early planning.


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References

  • Singapore Legal Advice. (2021, May 28). What Happens If You Die Without a Will in Singapore? Retrieved from Singapore Legal Advice: https://singaporelegaladvice.com/law-articles/in-the-absence-of-a-will-how-is-the-deceased-estate-distributed/
  • SJP Asia. (n.d.). Retirement and Wealth Planning Survey 2020. Retrieved from SJP Asia: https://www.sjp.asia/what-we-do/retirement/the-retirement-and-wealth-planning-survey-2020