Did you know that without a will, the state decides on the distribution of one’s assets and that the law can make decisions about one’s properties and other finances after their death? What about your children’s education and upbringing – who would take care of them should something untoward happen to you?
A will is a legal document that allows you to state your wishes regarding the allocation of your assets and the handling of your liabilities so that your affairs will be properly taken care of when you are no longer able to.
Attendees of a lunchtime workshop organised by SingHealth Work-Life learnt about this and more from Mr Joseph Rozario, a speaker from Synergy Financial Advisory. It has been reported in the media that no more than 10 to 15 per cent of Singaporeans have made wills.
While many of us may deem drafting our final wishes to be a morbid and troublesome exercise, it is actually very easy to execute and highly important for us to do so. Mr Rozario shares some important reasons why everyone should make a will:
1) Blood may not necessarily be thicker than water
It is not just in dramas where family members fight over an estate – it can happen in real life too. The lack of a will can indeed create some ugly, sticky situations that may even result in family members going to court over inheritances.
A will can help to avoid such complicated disputes amongst family members as it allows you the opportunity to distribute your assets the way you prefer, and even make arrangements to set up trusts for your young children, and control how and when they can use their inheritances.
2) It’s cheap!
Most people are under the impression that making a will is expensive but it can be written for as little as $200. This includes consultation with a professional who will provide you with the will documentation. Our advice is to seek professional help as a will is an extremely important legal document and having it drafted by a lawyer will be the most prudent. Even though it is possible to write your own will, Mr Joseph says, “Lawyers will ensure that all of the legal terms are accurate and that the document complies with the Singapore law. They will also be able to address any of your queries about the will accurately throughout the process.”
3) Money is not everything
A will does not revolve around money solely and there are many other wishes that you can state in your will too. Some people choose to share their preferred funeral arrangements in their will and also state their wishes about their insurance policy pay-outs.
There are, however, some limitations. Money from your Central Provident Fund (CPF) cannot be included in your will and can only be distributed by nominations. To find out more about distributing your CPF savings according to your wishes, please click here (requires internet access).
There is no set time or age for you to write a will but it is beneficial to prepare one as early as possible. Remember to update it periodically, or during important milestones such as your marriage or during the birth of your children.