What is a Will?
A will can be described as a legal document that states your wishes with regards to the distribution of your assets after your death. You may want to write a will to ensure that your assets are given to your loved ones after you die.
Types of Wills
There are different kinds of wills, such as Joint Wills, Mutual Wills and Mirror Wills. To keep things short, each type of will is summarised below :
- Joint Wills are wills made by 2 people on a single Will (e.g married couple). This can however, cause problems when one party dies or decides to revoke the will.
- Mutual Wills are separate, individual wills but with similar contents. Mutual Wills can only be revoked by mutual agreement by the 2 testators (the persons writing each will). In short, if one person dies, the will of the living person cannot be revoked.
- Mirror Wills are pretty much the same as Mutual Wills, but each person can revoke their respective wills without the consent of the other.
Requirements of a Will
In Singapore, there are a few things to note when writing a will, such as :
- The will must be written by someone who is at least 21 years old
- Will must be signed at the bottom end by the testator (the person writing the will)
- The signing of the will by the testator has to be in the presence of at least 2 witnesses. The witnesses are also required to sign the will in the presence of the testator
- The 2 witnesses must not be beneficiaries of the will (i.e they cannot be receiving any assets in the will)
- The testator must be of sound mind when signing the will
For a sound piece of mind, it is highly advised for you to hire a will writer or a wills lawyer to help you draft your will. This will ensure that your will is valid and your wishes are carried out properly.
You can get anyone to be your witness. That being said, try to find close or trusted friends who are not beneficiaries of your will. Secondly, try to get people who are more likely to outlive you so that they can testify to the validity of your will (e.g someone younger).
What to prepare before writing your will
These is a non-exhaustive list of the things you might want to include in your will :
- All your assets (e.g bank accounts, property, investments)
- All your liabilities (e.g debt and how they should be settled)
- The beneficiaries (who will receive your assets)
- The division of asset each beneficiary will receive
- Appointment of Executors (the person to execute your will)
- Revocation of any previously written wills
- Powers and directions to those listed in your will (trustees, guardians)
- How to distribute any remaining assets
Obviously, these points above are unique to everyone and it is not possible for us to cater to every situation.
These are also the most important, and make up the bulk of your will. It is therefore advisable for you to talk to your loved ones, plan properly, or consult a specialist to ensure that you are covering all bases and distributing your assets as you intended.
Cost of a Will
Whether you are hiring a will writer or wills lawyer to draft up a will for you, there are costs involved, which usually range in the hundreds.
As there are many will writers and lawyers around, you can do some searching to find someone who can do it for you at a price you are comfortable with. Alternatively, you can talk to our lawyers, who can assess your situation and help you draft your will.
What to Do after Writing the Will
It is important for you to keep your will in a place where your beneficiaries can access in the event of your death. If you keep it at home, they might find it when you are still alive. Furthermore, keeping a will in a safe may complicate things as you might be the only one with the combination to the safe.
As such, it is advisable for you to keep it in a more secured place. Some law firms and will specialists do provide will storing services. You can ask if they provide this service when you get in touch with them.
However, do ensure that the company you are storing your wills with is trusted and reputable. This is to prevent you from losing your will in the event that they shut down suddenly.
Lastly, you can deposit your information with the Wills Registry, after which you can notify your family and close ones about your will. The information stored is strictly confidential and doing so will help smoothen the process for the directions in your will to be carried out. Also note that the Wills Registry does not keep an actual copy of your will. What the Wills Registry does is simply keep information about your will so that your beneficiaries know where to find it when you pass on. There is currently a $50 fee to deposit your information.
You will still have to find a place to store your will after you deposit your information with the Wills Registry.
As Wills are a very personal and important matter, it is best to consult will practitioners to help you assess your situation and advise you on what to include in your will, how best to do it and planning for your beneficiaries.
Seeing a practitioner will also help to ensure that your will is valid, and store the will for you in a safe place.
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