Wills in Singapore - Asset Protection

Wills in Singapore — Asset Protection

A will is a legal document that specifies how an individual’s assets are to be distributed after their death. In Singapore, wills are governed by the Wills Act, which sets out the requirements for the execution and validity of wills. The Act also provides for the appointment of executors, who are responsible for administering the estate of the deceased and carrying out the terms of the will.

The importance of having a will cannot be overemphasised, as it ensures that an individual’s assets are distributed in accordance with their wishes and can help to avoid disputes among family members or other beneficiaries. A will can also be used to appoint guardians for minor children and to make provisions for the care of pets.

Will step-by-step walkthrough

The process of making a will in Singapore is relatively straightforward. An individual can either draft their own will or seek the assistance of a lawyer. When drafting a will, an individual should consider the following factors:

  • The appointment of an executor: An executor is responsible for administering the estate of the deceased and carrying out the terms of the will. An individual can appoint anyone as their executor, as long as the person is over the age of 21 and of sound mind. It is advisable to appoint someone who is reliable and trustworthy, as the executor has a legal duty to act in the best interests of the beneficiaries.
  • The appointment of guardians: If an individual has minor children, they can appoint guardians to care for their children in the event of their death. The guardians should be chosen with care, as they will have legal responsibility for the children. It is advisable to appoint a backup guardian in case the primary guardian is unable or unwilling to take on the role.
  • The distribution of assets: An individual can specify how their assets are to be distributed after their death. This can include specific gifts to individuals or charities, or a general distribution of the estate. An individual can also make provisions for any debts or taxes that may be outstanding at the time of their death.
  • The execution of the will: In order for a will to be valid in Singapore, it must be signed by the testator (the person making the will) in the presence of two witnesses. The witnesses must also sign the will in the presence of the testator and each other. The witnesses should not be beneficiaries of the will or related to the testator.

Updating and protecting the will

Once a will has been drafted, it is advisable to review it regularly to ensure that it accurately reflects the testator’s wishes. If an individual’s circumstances change, such as getting married or having children, it is important to update their will to reflect these changes.

In addition to drafting a will, it is also important to ensure that the will is easily accessible in the event of the testator’s death. This can be achieved by keeping the original copy of the will in a safe place and informing a trusted individual of its location. It is also a good idea to make copies of the will and give them to the executor and other trusted individuals.

What happens if there is no will?

If an individual dies without a will, their assets will be distributed according to the laws of intestacy, which set out the rules for the distribution of an estate when there is no will. In Singapore, the laws of intestacy are governed by the Administration of Muslim Law Act and the Inheritance (Family Provision) Act. Under these laws, the assets of the deceased will be distributed to their spouse, children, and other next of kin in a predetermined order.

Contesting a will

If an individual wishes to contest a will, they can do so by filing a claim with the court. The grounds for contesting a will in Singapore include lack of capacity, undue influence, fraud, and mistakes in the drafting of the will. If the court finds that the will is invalid, it will be declared void and the assets of the deceased will be distributed according to the laws of intestacy.

Restrictions

It is important to note that wills are subject to certain restrictions in Singapore. For example, a will cannot be used to disinherit a spouse or children unless the spouse or children have waived their rights to the estate in writing. In addition, a will cannot be used to make any provisions that are against public policy, such as promoting illegal or immoral activities.

Overall, a will is an important legal document that can help to ensure that an individual’s assets are distributed in accordance with their wishes and can help to avoid disputes among beneficiaries. By making a will and keeping it up to date, individuals in Singapore can protect their assets and provide for their loved ones after their death. Consult a lawyer for the best advise in constructing your will.

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