MAKING A WILL IN SINGAPORE
The making of a will in Singapore is governed by the Wills Act. The testator (person who has made the will) may plan, bestow or organise his or her assets via a written will.
The following contains the keys points concerning the Singapore Will Acts. Do note that the article is meant as a general guide and not as an absolute indicator. For more personalized opinion, we recommend consulting or engaging a reputable wills lawyer.
In general, when preparing a will, the following must be in place.
- The will must be written.
- The testator, at the point of making the will, must be of at least 21 years of age.
- The will upon preparation by the testator, must be committed with his or her signature at the foot the will. In any event that the testator is unable to do so, a third party may be allowed to do so in his place, in his presence.
- After the preparation of a will, 2 or more witnesses must be present to witness the signing of the will by the testator. The witnesses must also leave their signatures on the will in the presence of the testator.
- The 2 witnesses present must not be beneficiaries (person (s) receiving the assets) of the prepared will, or a husband or wife of the testator. A beneficiary may however act as a third witness.
While not a mandatory requirement, engaging a reputable wills lawyer is recommended because of the intricacies involved. Professional advice from a trained consultant will help you devise the necessary content to include in a will, preventing unnecessary losses, conflicts or confusion in the long run.
When making a will, the following may be included in the will (non-exhaustive):
- A written list of all your notable assets. A bank account in Singapore that is joint named or a shared real estate property may not be included in a will.
- A written list of all liabilities such as debt. The testator must indicate how he or she wants the debt to be accounted for before the balance assets may be bestowed to the beneficiary(s).
- The beneficiary(s), or named person(s) to receive the mentioned assets.
- Guardians of beneficiaries who are still not of age.
- The amount of asset each beneficiary is to receive.
- The executors appointed to execute your written will. A beneficiary of the will may also be appointed as the executor.
- The advisor(s), for example the lawyer(s) or will specialist involved.
- A revocation clause to nullify any will that has been prepared previously.
- A residuary clause on how to distribute remaining assets based on your wishes. This could be used for situations such as when a beneficiary passes on before you. The assets originally meant for him or she then becomes part of the remaining assets.
CPF money may not be included inside a written will. As such, if you wish to distribute the money inside your CPF account upon your passing, you will need to nominate a beneficiary for your CPF account. This can be done with the CPF Board. Each nominated person will receive a portion of your CPF money as indicated in your nomination. In the event that no nomination has been made, the money inside your CPF account will be automatically transferred to the Public Trustee’s Office and made available to your next of kin.
What happens after a will has been prepared?
Upon preparation and completion of a will, keep a copy in a secure location. Promptly inform your family and next of kin of its existence. Information on the will should also be submitted to the Wills Registry. In doing so, the risk of complications during the probate process is greatly reduced.
Submission of information to the Wills Registry may be done online at http://www.iptoonline.gov.sg. You will be required to have your SingPass account for access. A $50 processing fee is applicable for submission of will information to the Wills Registry.
If you are keen to engage an experienced, affordable and professional wills lawyer, please visit our dedicated wills page.