Ask the experts: On making a will

Ask the experts: On making a will

Each week, our financial experts from Manulife will respond to readers' questions related to financial planning.

If you have any questions on financial planning - whether it's about educational planning, retirement, housing loans, CPF, Singapore Savings Bond, SRS, MediShield Life and more, ask our experts! Send your questions to contentstudio@sph.com.sg.

This week, Ms. Sarah Lee (Senior Manager, Financial Services, Manulife) replies to our reader's question on whether limited assets warrant a Will.

I have limited assets. Do I still need to make a will?

I am thankful that you put forth this question to clarify your doubt. It is important to have a will regardless of your estate size which comprises all your assets.

The purpose of a will is to express clearly our wishes on how we like our estate to be distributed after we are gone. If properly drafted, it ensures an orderly and proper distribution amongst our loved ones, who can be both individuals and/or organizations whom we desire to give to or provide for.

Virtually every person, whether married, single, divorced, parent, childless, in good health or bad health, should have a will. If you have a Yes to the following statements, it will be good that you make a will.

I want to have control over who shall receive my assets and in what percentage.

I want to dictate who is the guardian to take good care of my children who are still minors.

I want to decide who is the executor and trustee to administer my estate.

I want to keep the control in my hands and not let the Court decide.

I want a speedier and less costly estate distribution.

Passing on without a Will?

If you pass on without a will, the law decides how your assets are distributed, subject to the Intestacy Law of Singapore and the table illustrating the priority of distribution can be found under Intestate Succession Act (Chapter 146). In some cases, consequences may seem unfair and undesirable, where the remaining family and relatives fell apart due to fight over the distribution of the assets. Your hard-earned money may be given to people whom you don't like.

Who Can Help you Draft your Will?

You can make your own will if you are 21 years and of sound mind. But there may be a risk that your own written will may be ineffective or invalid. As such, you are recommended to consult a lawyer or a professional will writing company to advise you and draft your will for you according to law.

You will be advised to brainstorm thoroughly on individuals to appoint as your Executor, Trustee and Guardian. You also need to list down your inventory list detailing all your net assets available for distribution.

Two witnesses (aged 21 and above who are preferably not your beneficiaries) are required to ensure that it is a valid Will. Average cost of a simple Will ranges from S$250 - S$450.

You are advised to speak with your experienced Financial Planner who should be able to advise and guide you through the mechanics of the will.

This article was part of a sponsored series first published by SPH Content Studio.

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