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Why Write a Will?

Is It necessary to have a will?
Having a well-thought out will is always a wise move. The three common advantages are:
  1. You can decide on how your assets will be distributed after your death. Without a will, your assets may not be given to your choice of beneficiaries. This may lead to serious disputes and disharmony among loved ones.
  2. You can appoint the right executors and trustees whom you know and trust. Executors and trustees will help to manage your assets and estate affairs after you pass on. This includes distributing assets according to your instructions and paying your debts and liabilities (using your assets).
  3. You can appoint a guardian to take care of your children who are below 21 years old. If you have children, it’s important to make sure that they’re always protected and cared for.
A will is your final act of love for your loved ones. It helps expedite settlement of your estate and avoids unforeseen complications while they are in grief.
What happens to my estate if I do not have a will?
Upon death without a will, you have effectively given up your right to decide how your assets are distributed. Your loved ones may be burdened because:
  1. An administrator, usually a next-of-kin, must step forward to apply for the Letter of Administration before he/she can distribute the estate according to the Intestate Succession Act. As such, there may be serious disagreements as to whom should do so.
  2. The process may be more time-consuming as the administrator may not be ready with the required information on the estate, have no time or find it too complicated. There are cases where no one is willing to step forward to be the administrator due to uncertainties in the estate’s liabilities. There are also cases where several people want to be the administrator due to the large amount of assets at stake, sometimes for the wrong reasons.
  3. If there are young children involved or if your estate’s value is above a certain threshold, 2 sureties are needed before the court would grant the letter. The sureties must swear an affidavit certifying their worth is equal or more than the total value of your estate.
  4. On the unfortunate occasion that both parents pass on at the same time, there may be great uncertainty as to whom should take on the responsibilities of guardianship to your children.
How will my estate be distributed if I do not have a will?
Deceased Dies Intestate Leaving: Distribution
(No parents or issue*)
Spouse, Issue
(With or without parents)

(To be shared equally)

(No spouse)
(To be shared equally)
Spouse, Parents
(No issue)

(To be shared equally)

(No spouse or issue)
(To be shared equally)
(No spouse, issue or parents)
(To be shared equally)
(No spouse, issue, parent or siblings)
(To be shared equally)
Uncles & Aunts
(No spouse, issue, parents, siblings, grandparents)
Uncles and Aunts
(To be shared equally)
None of the above
* “issue” - includes children and the descendants of deceased children.

Who Is Eligible?

How do I qualify to write a will?
You need to be at least 21 years old and of sound mind to write a will. There is no need for your will to be drafted, approved or witnessed by a lawyer as long as your will fulfils the legal requirements. To be of a sound mind or have the testamentary capacity:
  1. You should understand the nature of the act and what the consequences are;
  2. You know and approve the contents of the will, nature and extent of properties;
  3. You know who your beneficiaries are and can appreciate their claims on your properties; and
  4. You are free from an abnormal state of mind that might distort feelings or judgements relevant to making the will.
Is MoneyOwl's simple will writing service suitable for me?
We designed this will-writing service to be hassle-free to benefit as many people as possible. As most people do not have overseas assets and their distribution wishes are relatively simple, the simple will offered by MoneyOwl may be sufficient for you. If you have the following needs, you may wish to seek legal advice:
  • Muslim wills. Muslim wills must adhere to Faraid guidelines. Unfortunately, we are not able to provide this service.
  • If you want to give a combination of fixed amounts and percentages. For example, if you have $100,000 of assets and wish to give a fixed amount of $40,000 to your mother and the residual assets ($60,000) to be divided among your siblings by proportion.
  • If you want to give away specific assets to a particular beneficiary and your other assets to be divided among your other beneficiaries. For example, you have $100,000 of assets and a house and wish to give away your house to your father and the $100,000 assets to be divided among your siblings.
  • If your needs are more complex. For example, if you wish to distribute your estate primarily to your spouse and children, but in the event where the entire family passes on in a common disaster, you might want to re-distribute your estate wishes.
  • If you are translating this website for a person who does not understand English, please note that the person is unable to use our will writing service. This is because, in addition to the will having to be interpreted for the person in a language that he understands, the sign-off portion where he and the witnesses sign off needs to be amended to state that the content of the will had been explained in his language and that he fully understands the content of the will. We are not able to make such amendments and any handwritten amendment could make the will null and void.
In MoneyOwl’s will writing process, we will guide you in identifying your beneficiaries and the proportion of estate you intend to distribute, as well as guardians (if you have a young child), executors and trustees. For more advanced needs, you may wish to seek legal advice.

Getting Started

How do I create my will?
All you have to do is go through a simple step-by-step process and answer our questions. We will do the magic!
How do I execute my will?
All you have to do is print it out and sign off at the end of the Will and at the bottom of every page and have your witnesses sign the same as well. Beneficiaries under the will and their spouses are prohibited from signing as witnesses. Remember, you must ensure that all signatures are witnessed in person by all parties (ie your two witnesses and yourself must all sign in the presence of one another at one sitting). Date the will immediately thereafter. You will then have a valid will!
When does my will take effect?
Your will only takes effect upon death; only then will the distributions to a beneficiary take place.
What defines my property in my will?
The property to be disposed of in the estate in the will is the property which exists at the time of death and not the property at the date when you execute your will. Our online will currently treats all your estate (which includes all your insurance payouts and assets in banks) as a whole and distributes it among your beneficiaries in your specified portions. There are coming plans to enhance our online will further such as the option to specify certain assets e.g. bank accounts for segregated distribution. Once it is ready, users will be informed.
What assets cannot be distributed via my will?
The following assets cannot be distributed via a will:
  1. CPF balances will be distributed according to your CPF Nomination if you have made one. If you do not make a CPF nomination, your money will be paid to the Public Trustee in Singapore, who will pay it out in accordance with the Intestate Succession Act. Read more on the CPF website and download the form here
  2. Proceeds of insurance policies will go to the beneficiaries nominated in the insurance policies. If you do not make a nomination, the proceeds will form part of your estate to be distributed according to your will or if no will is done, it will be distributed in accordance with the Intestate Succession Act.
  3. Property under Joint Tenancy – the property will be passed over to the survivor joint tenant. For example, if you own a property as joint tenants with your spouse, in the event that you pass on, your spouse will inherit the property wholly. For real-estate properties that are held as joint tenants, these properties cannot be passed on through the operation of a will.
  4. Generally-speaking, the assets in joint-bank accounts and joint-stock brokerage accounts would also be payable to the surviving account holder. However, due to different clauses with regards to these accounts, in some cases, these assets may form part of the estate to be distributed according to your will or the Intestate Succession Act.
What happens to my previous wills?
Your latest will revokes any previous wills. The date of a will is therefore very important. The later will, shall in the absence of other factors, usually prevails if it had a statement revoking all former wills.
I would like to customize my will from the automatically generated version provided through your service. Can I do this?
No, unfortunately. Our will-writing service is an automated one. It only caters to a select few situations and pre-set inheritance options. These are generally the more common scenarios and/or choices for most people. For complex wills, we can refer you to one of our trusted partners who specialises in this aspect for which they charge a reasonable fee for their professional service.
Can foreigners be witnesses?
Foreigners can be witnesses; you will need to enter their foreign ID so that the courts can easily contact them.

Managing Your Will

How do I safekeep my will?
You will need to store your original signed hardcopy will in a safe and secure place. You need to decide whom you would like your will to be disclosed to. This person or persons must be informed of the location of the will and be able to access it when the need arises. One good place is to keep it together with your insurance policies. Putting it in locked storage may pose problems when the keys are lost. As of now, digital copies and digital signatures of wills are not acceptable in the court of law.
When should I revise my will?
You should review your will from time to time to make sure it remains current and viable. These are situations where you should review and amend your will if necessary:
  • change in distribution wishes
  • change or death of any of beneficiaries, guardian, executor, trustee
  • marriage or re-marriage – these events will revoke your earlier will you have made.
  • change in personal circumstances such as addition of new family member, or divorce
Be aware that you cannot alter your will by simply crossing something out or adding something new. In fact, making a handwritten change could invalidate your entire will.
What should I do besides having a will?
What happens if my witness/beneficiary passes away?
If your witness passes away, your will remains valid even if the witnesses have passed away or become invalid to stand as witnesses. Their testimony stands that at point of signing, the testator was of sound mind. Usually before grant of probate, court may ask witnesses to validate the will but if they are unable to do so, will is valid but could be prone to questioning. For practical reasons, the will should be signed again with a fresh pair of witnesses. If his beneficiary also passed away, the executor will distribute your share of assets across the remaining surviving beneficiaries according to their allocation. For example, 34%, 33% and 33% to each of 3 kids. If child 1 passes away, the 34% will be distributed to the remaining two children following their new allocation percentage, which would be 50% and 50%.
How do I discard a will?
As long as the drafted will is not signed by the testator (you) and the 2 witnesses, it is not valid. There is no need to make any changes to your entries in the online wills. Should you have validated/executed a will, you can supersede it by a later will.
How will a will be revealed upon one's demise?
For safe-keeping of wills, you will need to store your original signed hardcopy will in a safe and secure place. You need to decide whom you would like your will to be disclosed to. This person or persons must be informed of the location of the will and be able to access it when the need arises. One good place is to keep it together with your insurance policies. Putting it in locked storage may pose problems when the keys are lost. As of now, digital copies and digital signatures of wills are not acceptable in the court of law.
What happens to our flat under Joint Tenancy if both passed away at the same time?
In the case of such simultaneous death, the court will deem that the older person would have passed away first and left it to the younger person. The distribution of assets will hence follow the will (if available) of the younger person. If the will specified the children as beneficiaries then it will be passed to the children. However the child must be able to inherit the property, i.e. age 21 and above and does not own a HDB flat. Otherwise the executor will hang on to the property and manage it the best way possible - either hold on till child is old enough to inherit or sell it away and split the proceeds.
What happens to my investments if I pass on?
The executor/trustee is given powers to distribute the funds for the interest of beneficiaries. He may decide how best to distribute e.g. encash immediately, encash later or if possible make arrangements to transfer the investments to the beneficiaries' account.



MoneyOwl is not a law firm and does not give legal advice. This service is provided as a general service over the Internet and the information provided is not to be construed as legal advice and is not guaranteed to be correct, complete or up-to-date and which may change from time to time. By using this service, you acknowledge that the information, materials and content provided is for information purposes only and should not be construed nor relied upon as legal advice. This service is meant as a publishing service, and all documents provided and produced through this service are meant to provide a guideline for common and standard situations and are provided on an “as is” basis.

Please note that each person’s situation is unique and your use of this service and the Will(s) produced for your use, may not necessarily fit your particular circumstances. If you have any legal questions or if you are unsure whether the service will be suitable to meet your needs, you are advised to seek specific legal or professional advice.

MoneyOwl is not responsible for any loss, claim, liability, or damage related to your use of this.