Estate planning is one of the most important yet overlooked aspects of financial planning. After working hard for most of our adult life, saving up for rainy days and old age, and buying protection in case of the unexpected – when the inevitable strikes, you want your assets to be smoothly managed and transferred to those who matter after your passing.
Without proper planning, we will leave a financial mess – as well as emotional turmoil – for our loved ones.
We had earlier provided a comprehensive overview of estate planning. Here, we break down several digital enhancements to estate planning which will make the process more convenient for you
1. Making Your LPA Online
A Lasting Power of Attorney (LPA) is a legal document that allows you, the donor, to appoint another person, or multiple persons, known as donees, to act on your behalf if you lose mental capacity. These include personal welfare matters such as decisions on care, where you live, as well as property and affairs matters including finance decisions.
From 14 November 2022, you can make your Lasting Power of Attorney (LPA) online at the new Office of Public Guardian Online system (OPGO), instead of via a hardcopy form. It will halve the processing time to an average of 1.5 weeks, and the process of preparing an LPA will also be simpler as the new portal will use the MyInfo service to automatically fill up most fields in the form.
After you submit the LPA form on OPGO, your donees will be notified via SMS or email to accept the LPA digitally through the portal.
After that, there is just one more step to do. You will need to visit a certificate issuer, who is either a medical practitioner accredited by the Office of Public Guardian, a practising lawyer, or a registered psychiatrist, in person. They will help ensure that you understand that an LPA is being made and is not induced by fraud or undue pressure to make one. They will then digitally sign the LPA via Singpass to certify and submit the LPA on your behalf through the portal.
All hardcopy LPAs completed earlier will be converted to electronic versions and saved on the portal. This is so all donors and donees can conveniently view their LPAs through the online system. The donor may share their online LPA with trusted persons, and the donee may use the online LPA with third-party agencies such as banks and hospitals to facilitate transactions on behalf of the donor.
2. Online CPF Nomination
As your CPF savings are not covered by a will, you should make a CPF nomination to decide who receives your CPF monies after your passing and ensure that they receive it promptly. Furthermore, making a CPF nomination is free, and your nominees do not need to pay any charges to claim your CPF savings after you pass on.
On the other hand, if you did not make a CPF nomination, your CPF savings will be transferred to the Public Trustee’s Office (PTO) for distribution under the Interstate Succession Act or Inheritance Certificate for Muslims. The benefits of making a CPF nomination are summarised below:
|With CPF Nomination||Without CPF Nomination|
|Beneficiaries||Distributed according to your wishes||Distributed according to Interstate Succession Act or Inheritance Certificate for Muslims|
|Time||CPF savings distributed within 15 working days||PTO may take up to six months to identify which of your family members can receive your savings|
|Fees for distribution||None||PTO will deduct an administrative fee from your CPF savings before distributing to your family members|
Did you know that you can make your CPF nomination online? You just need:
- Your Singpass,
- Your nominees’ NRIC particulars, and
- Two witnesses’ NRIC particulars (they should each have a valid Singpass).
After you make your CPF nomination, your witnesses will be notified via email or SMS to confirm and witness your nomination via a link. However, they will not be privy to the details of your nomination.
If you prefer, you can also choose to nominate in person at a CPF service centre. You will have to make an appointment and bring along your NRIC or passport as well as photocopies of your nominees’ identification documents on the day. CPF staff will be present to act as your witnesses and clarify any questions you may have.
3. Access Insurance Policies Through SGFinDex
A will is often the first thing people think about when it comes to estate planning. But beyond identifying your beneficiaries and executor or trustee, you should also list the assets which make up your estate, including your bank accounts, property, investments and insurance policies. This will help the executor identify what assets you own, ascertain how much they are worth, and distribute your assets efficiently after you pass away.
Without this asset listing or schedule of assets, it will take your executor or family members much longer to write to institutions such as banks and insurance companies and verify your assets under them.
From early November, we can digitally access and aggregate information on our life, accident and health insurance policies held across different insurers through the Singapore Financial Data Exchange (SGFinDex). This adds to the financial information held by government agencies, banks and the central securities depository (CDP) to give you a more complete picture of your financial assets.
One point to know – the only investment data provided on the platform at this moment is from the CDP. So if you invest with other platforms or providers, you will need to separately add that to your schedule of assets
4. My Legacy Portal
After you have drawn up your will, CPF nomination, LPA, etc, the next question would be where do I store them for my family members to easily retrieve them after my passing? This is where the My Legacy portal comes in handy.
Launched in 2020, My Legacy provides information and services for planning ahead for palliative care and post-death issues on a secured digital platform.
In addition to providing guides on how to plan for matters such as your will, LPA and funeral wishes, the portal also includes a Vault feature, which allows you to store digital copies of your important documents such as LPA, will and funeral plans.
You can designate trusted persons such as family members to access these documents, with the option to also allow access before death has occurred, to facilitate post-death administration matters. The My Legacy Vault is protected with Singpass and Two-Factor Authentication (2FA) to ensure that all uploaded documents are safe and secure.
5. No Better Time Than Today With MoneyOwl’s Online Will Writing Tool
Your estate planning process need not be a difficult nor tedious one. With the enhancements in place, the process can be a smooth-sailing one.
To help you get started on the process, MoneyOwl is offering a promotion where new clients will receive $10 Fairprice vouchers to draw up a legally binding will quickly and easily on MoneyOwl’s digital platform for free. [Afternote: This promotion ended on 31 Dec 2022. However, we still have loads of promos available for you. Find out more here.] The process is simple with just 4 steps:
Get started today!
Disclaimer: While every reasonable care is taken to ensure the accuracy of the information provided, no responsibility can be accepted for any loss or inconvenience caused by any error or omission. The information and opinions expressed herein are made in good faith and are based on sources believed to be reliable but no representation or warranty, express or implied, is made as to their accuracy, completeness or correctness. Expressions of opinions or estimates should neither be relied upon nor used in any way as an indication of the future performance of any financial products, as prices of assets and currencies may go down as well as up and past performance should not be taken as an indication of future performance. The author and publisher shall have no liability for any loss or expense whatsoever relating to investment decisions made by the reader.