Financial Planning | Personal Finance | Article
Other Reasons Why You Should Write a Will
by Sophia | 12 Sep 2019 | 5 mins read
What happens if you are gone tomorrow? Or more importantly, who gets your Macbook Pro? We know that if you don’t write a will, soap opera levels of drama can erupt if surviving family members begin to squabble over your assets.
But other than distributing your cash and other valuables, here are some other reasons why you should consider writing a will.
It’s not always about asset distribution
It can be about ashes distribution. Want to be scattered on top of Mount Everest? Made into a diamond? Perhaps you have certain religious beliefs or practices to be observed.
Wills can serve as a way to make funeral arrangements in advance or – at the very least – have someone’s final wishes be made known, so the bereaved won’t have to agonise or squabble over these decisions.
It can help your loved ones locate assets
Been hiding a secret stash? Or maybe you have a million-dollar collection of Pokemon trading cards (that someone might accidentally throw out). A will can communicate the location and more information about your assets to your next-of-kin.
Don’t have a particularly good relationship with your siblings? Well time to cut them out the will. A will can be a way to designate who do you NOT want to receive any of your assets.
If there’s no will in place, the government will distribute the assets on your behalf, according to the Intestate Succession Act. The act’s distribution priority will places spouses and children first, followed by parents, siblings, grandparents, and finally, aunts and uncles.
Name a guardian for your children
Remember Harry Potter suffering in the Dursley house? Well, If you have unpleasant relatives, you can use a will to appoint a specific guardian for your children (even pets), sparing them from having to live in a broom cupboard.
What wills can’t do
So having a will is indeed useful, but there are some things a will cannot administrate. Here are some things that should not be included within a will:
- CPF savings and money (nominated directly with CPF);
- Properties with joint tenancy (due to a surviving co-owner);
- Cash in joint savings accounts;
- Insurance money, if a beneficiary has already been nominated.
The key is that a will can only administer assets that you wholly own, that have no prior nomination.
Wills are for everyone
Owning or writing a will doesn’t come with a prerequisite of being filthy rich. So even if one’s net worth isn’t much, it’s still within their rights to have a will, whether they’re a CEO at the top of the food chain or a clerk grinding through the daily 9 to 6.
In fact, anyone who is 21 years old is able to write their own will, here are some important points of will writing.
How to write a will of your own
For a will to be deemed valid, it must satisfy a few conditions:
- It must be in writing;
- You must be at least 21, and of sound mind when writing the will;
- You must sign the will at the bottom, witnessed by at least two people who are not beneficiaries;
- Both witnesses have to also sign the will in front of you;
- It should be kept in good condition because if a will is torn, or even smudged, it’s validity can be challenged.
As you write a will, you should include all your assets and how you wish to split them between beneficiaries. It can be expressed as either as a specific sum allocated to each beneficiary or as a percentage of your asset(s).
Beneficiaries’ names should be written in full, with their IC numbers and addresses indicated to aid verification.
You should name an executor, a person that will be in charge of carrying out your final wishes. Do consider naming a back-up executor if the original is unable to carry out the role.
You should include a clause that revokes previous versions of the will to indicate that this copy is truly your “Final Will and Testament.”
Consider that some of your beneficiaries might pass before you. A clause can be added to indicate how unclaimed portions of your estate should then be distributed.
However, poorly written portions of the will can be deemed invalid. If you are worried about messing it up, you can hire a lawyer to draft your will. In Singapore prices for will writing services can start from $180, a relatively affordable amount for a document with such significance.
In fact, there are even free will writing services, like OCBC’s online will writing service that can help you create a rudimentary will for free.
While it can be uncomfortable thinking about a will because of its obvious associations, it is a way to control the final impact you make on the world and not to mention smooth out the difficult process that your loved ones will have to go through when you leave them behind.