In today’s article, MoneyOwl’s Master Trainer, Felicia Yeo, and founding director of SimplyWills Pte Ltd, Patrick Chang, came together to address some of the frequently asked questions about estate planning.
As a company that specialises in will-writing solutions, SimplyWills brings expertise in the legal aspects of drafting a will, while MoneyOwl provides advice from the financial planning aspects. With a better understanding of estate planning and equipped with easy-to-access solutions, we hope to help you make wiser decisions for yourself and your loved ones.
1. What happens to my assets if I die without a will?
Felicia: If you do not leave behind a valid will before you pass away, your estate will be distributed to your survivors according to the Intestate Succession Act. However, the Intestate Succession Act does not apply to Muslims. A Muslim’s estate is governed by the Muslim Inheritance Law, provided for under the Administration of Muslim Law Act (AMLA) and is administered by the Syariah Court in Singapore.
2. Do I need a lawyer in order to draft a will?
Felicia: You do not strictly need a lawyer to write a will. However, self-constructed wills are often misinterpreted, and it is best to engage a wills lawyer if your requirements on who should inherit your assets are complex.
If your distribution wishes are relatively straightforward, MoneyOwl offers a FREE online will-writing service that does not require a lawyer, is legally binding and easy to use.
From now till 30 June 2023, new MoneyOwl clients can redeem a $10 FairPrice voucher* when you complete your will on our platform by using the promotion code: MOMAIL.
3. Who should I appoint as the executor of my will?
Felicia: Anyone age 21 and above, not a bankrupt and of sound mind, can act as an executor. An executor is responsible for carrying out the wishes of the deceased outlined in his will and the process is rather tedious. Hence, you should appoint someone you trust who can act honestly, diligently, and fairly. An executor can also be a beneficiary under the will, so you can select your spouse, an adult child, a close relative, or a family friend.
4. Should I apportion my assets via a percentage distribution or absolute – what are the implications?
Patrick: Usually, we recommend distributing assets by percentage, as it is the safer option. For example, someone may indicate in his will that he intends to give $50,000 to each of his four siblings. However, it could lead to complications if his value of the assets is not enough to fulfil this requirement upon his passing.
5. Do I need to include the details of every bank account, CDP, and broker account in my will?
Felicia: You do not need to include the details in your will. However, you should prepare and maintain a Schedule of Assets and include the details of these assets.
6. How long does it take (in general) for family members to receive a share of the assets?
Patrick: If the Schedule of Assets is available, it will take between 2 to 4 months. However, if the Schedule of Assets is unavailable, we will need an additional 1 to 2 months to compile the list of assets.
7. Is my will still valid if I move overseas?
Patrick: Yes. On the other hand, we recommend reviewing your will if there are major changes to the requirements, especially if you have acquired a significant amount of assets overseas. In this case, you might need to consider having a separate Will for your overseas assets.
Drafting a will is an important step in ensuring that your assets are distributed according to your wishes after your passing. If you are just getting started, you can rewatch our recent webinar Leaving A Legacy: How Will Writing Can Benefit You and Your Loved Ones here. As a final tip, remember that estate planning is an ongoing process, and it is essential to review and update your will to reflect any changes in your life circumstances. If you are unsure where to start and require assistance, both MoneyOwl and SimplyWills are here for you!
About The Contributors
Felicia Yeo is a Master Trainer at MoneyOwl, an NTUC social enterprise whose mission is to provide comprehensive, competent and conflict-free advice to help Singaporeans make wise money decisions easily and confidently to live their best possible life. Felicia brings with her over 20 years of experience in the financial sector by helping people from all walks of life achieve their financial goals by empowering them with financial knowledge and skills.
Patrick Chang is the Founding Director of SimplyWills Pte Ltd and Advance Planning Pte Ltd, an organisation specialising in writing Wills, LPAs and Trusts. Patrick founded SimplyWills in 2006 and Advance Planning in 2018. He now has a team of more than 2,200 Certified Will Planners helping to reach out to members of the public. His team has written more than 28,000 Wills and helped more than 3,300 families in applying for the grant of probate/letters of administration. As an educator, he has presented at least one thousand Will Writing Workshops and Webinars helping to create the awareness that writing a Will is an important part of the planning process. Many insurance companies, banks, corporates and non-profit organisations have benefitted from his educational and entertaining workshops.
While every reasonable care is taken to ensure the accuracy of 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 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 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.