While it is generally a taboo in Asia to discuss about Wills, it is an important task that should be completed. That’s because death usually comes when we least expect it and absent a Will, the left over assets may not be divided among the beneficiaries in the intended manner.
No Control Over How The Estate Is Split
If you do not have a Will, the disposition of your estate would come under the Intestate Succession Act. Here are some of the rules of the Act.
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If the survivor is spouse and parents, the spouse and parents both get 50% each.
If the survivor is spouse and children, the spouse gets 50% and the children get 50% shared equally
The main concern of the rule is that parents may not get anything if there is spouse and children. A Will will be able to state differently how the estate is split and leave some assets for the parents. There are also rules which apply if there are no close relatives and the estate could be left behind to people which you do not intend to give to.
Leaving Estate to Charity
Other than leaving the estate to family, one may also choose to leave some portion of the estate to charities of their choice. Having a Will allows to you to name charities such as religious organizations and medical foundations to gift your assets to.
Speed Up The Legal Process of Distribution
In the absence of a Will, the legal process of going through the distribution is more lengthy and costly as well, reducing the total value of the estate. For example, two guarantors will be required unless the court approves otherwise.
Underage Children Cannot Own Assets
Another issue with intestate succession act is that children under the age of 21 cannot own assets. In the case of a double tragedy where both parents meet their demise, there may be complications. A guardian can be stated in the Will to take care of the children and take charge of the estate until the children grow up.
Review Wills Regularly
Wills should also be reviewed regularly to update for changes in personal circumstances and to ensure that they are still consistent with your latest wishes. It is generally recommended to review at least once in 2 years.
About the Author
Calvin Yeo is the Managing Director of Doctor Wealth Pte Ltd (www.drwealth.com), which is an online financial planning platform. He is also a Chartered Financial Analyst (CFA) as well as Certified Financial Planner (CFP).
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