Tuesday, February 3, 2009

Things to consider when writing a will

Though I would think most of you out there are still healthy and fit, but i guess it is still useful to know a little more about wills. I came across the information from this from a book that I borrowed recently from the library, titled 'Personal Wealth Management' by Peter Tan.

I did not think the book was good though. It was too general and not much specific details were given,but at least the 'Will' part was interesting.

Summary ( according to the book, and its published in April 2007) :

  • Even after death, before the assets can be passed to those in the will, the assets will be subject to tax.( NO more true from 15 Feb 2008)
  • If you nominated a 'spouse' in the will, even if you remarry, the spouse will be the person who was originally your spouse, when you wrote the will. ( A reader emailed me to clarify this. According to the book that I read, it states that under Section 73 of the Conveyancing and Law of Property Act, ''Spouse'' refers to the spouse during the period when the spouse was nominated as the beneficiary.)
  • Letters of administration will be given to spouses,children above 21 or close relatives when the person passes away.
  • For a default family of a spouse and children with grandparents. The spouse will get half of the assets, and the rest if shared among ONLY the children.
  • Will must be in writing to be valid
  • Will must be signed on the last page by the person writing it, or by someone in his presence or at his request.
  • Will must be signed in the presence of 2 or more witness, not named as beneficiaries, who will also sigh the document.
  • Muslims may bequeath only 1/3 of their estate under Islamic or Syariah Law
  • A typical paragraph opens with ' This is the last will and testament of me, ABC of 1 Bedok Ave,Singapore'.
  • A will cannot be used for joint property. As the property will automatically go to the other person.
  • The Will has no jurisdiction over CPF funds. And you will need to make a nomination. However you will need to renominate when you marry/remarry. If there is no nomination, the $$ will be paid to the public trustee which will distribute the $$ as though there is no will.
  • USING THE STATE TRUST, your $$ is protected from creditors and you will have a $600,000 exemption from estate duty.

Yup, i know its rather wordy, but I feel that this is the most simplified 'need to know'. You will never know when it will come in handy..


ACE said...

Just an update: I presume the tax refers to estate duty. Singapore has abolished estate duty since the last budget year - 2008.

ntuchartist said...

Thanks for pointing it out. According to another reader who emailed me. The change was implemented from 15 Feb 2008


Great advice.