If you have dependents such as children, elderly parents, or simply people you care about in your life and want to look after them after your death, a will gives you peace of mind that your assets will be distributed according to your wishes.
Technically speaking, anyone can write a will for themselves or on behalf of others. However, just because you’ve written your own will doesn’t mean it’s necessarily valid.
How to write a legally binding will according to Singapore legislation:
In order for a will to be valid in Singapore, it must meet the following requirements:
- The will must be in writing.
- The donor must be 21 years of age or over.
Actions to take to ensure a Singapore will is valid:
- You must sign the document at the bottom.
- A minimum of two witnesses must watch you sign the will. Witnesses cannot be beneficiaries to the will or a spouse of a beneficiary to the will.
- The two witnesses must also sign the will in front of you.
- Submit the location of your will to the Singapore Will Registry, and also let your executors know too (non-mandatory but recommended step).
Your will should include:
- A list of all your valuable assets (not to list every asset you own).
- Clearly designate all your beneficiaries (& their guardians if applicable).
- How much of your estate each beneficiary will receive.
- A list of your liabilities and how you want to satisfy them before the remainder of the assets are distributed accordingly.
- A clause that revokes previous wills.
- A clause stating how to distribute the remainder of the estate in the event that you outlive a beneficiary.
A point to note here is that the will doesn’t have to have a specified length, especially as everyone has a different quantity of possessions.
What is the cost of writing a will in Singapore?
If you live in Singapore and have an especially large estate or valuable possessions, and may not have immediate family (or special wishes for your assets rather than typical spouse, parent, child relationships); you may wish to seek help from a lawyer or service provider. In Singapore, Lawyers offices can charge from SGD $100-300 per will depending on its length. (another reason not to list all your assets!).
Passing away without writing a valid will
Passing away without a having any will on file means that none of your assets will go to friends, charities or partners and any property will be distributed according to Singapore’s intestate succession legislation.
In accordance with these regulations, your spouse gets 100% of your estate in Singapore if you don’t have children. If you are married with children, your spouse receives 50%, while the children split the other 50% in equal parts as per intestate succession.