June 10, 2022

Making a Will in Singapore

This article explains everything you need to know about making a will. A will is the legal term for a document setting out how a person (called a testator) disposes of, or bequeaths, their assets and property. In Singapore, a piece of legislation called the Wills Act governs how wills are made.

What follows is a general guide; for specific advice you should speak to a reputable and experienced wills lawyer.

What are the requirements for a valid will?

The following criteria should be satisfied when making a valid will:

  • The testator is at least 21 years old
  • The will is written down
  • When preparing the will, the testator must sign at the end of the document
  • 2 witnesses have to be present in order to witness this signing by the testator. These witnesses also have to enter their signatures on the will, in the presence of the testator
  • The 2 witnesses cannot also be beneficiaries of the will.

What clauses should I include in a will?

The following clauses should be included when you make your will:

  1. Personal information about you and your particulars
  2. Whether you are married or not
  3. A revocation clause to stop any previous wills you made from applying
  4. The name of the executor who will execute the terms of your will. You can also appoint a beneficiary of the will as an executor if you wish.
  5. Up to 2 named people (guardians) to take care of any minor children
  6. The names of the beneficiaries who you wish to receive the assets
  7. The percentage proportion of assets the beneficiaries are to receive
  8. A residuary clause about how to share out remaining assets in accordance with your wishes.

CPF monies

If you want to distribute monies in a CPF account when you die, you must nominate a beneficiary for the account, with the CPF board. You may not include CPF monies in a written will.

Each person you nominate will then get a share of the monies in your CPF account, as you have indicated. If you don’t make a nomination, then the money in your account is transferred automatically to the office of the Public Trustee, to be made available to your next of kin.

After the will has been prepared, what happens next?

Upon completing your will, you should keep it in a safe place, and notify the executor you have named, and your family, about the will you have just made.

Marriages and divorces: new wills are required

Any will made before a marriage automatically becomes invalid, unless you stated in the will that it was created in contemplation of the marriage. Regarding divorces, the opposite is true: any will made prior to divorce remains valid. You may, however, want to make a fresh will to reflect your new circumstances.

Remember: marriage revokes your will; divorce does not revoke a will.

To keep your will up to date and accurate, change it when you marry or divorce.

Our will writing service

Even though it’s not required by law, using a reputable wills lawyer is highly recommended. They will be able to confirm that the instructions they receive are given freely from their client and not under duress. They will also be insured as a lawyer. Thus the advantages of instructing a lawyer when making your will are numerous – you will get help on what to include, you’ll prevent unnecessary conflicts or losses and the process will be much quicker and simpler.

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