What Is A Will?
A person makes a Will to provide for the administration and distribution of what he owns (‘his estate’) among his beneficiaries after his death. This person is called ‘the testator’. ‘Beneficiaries’ are those who inherit or benefit under the Will. The ‘Executor’ is the person nominated by the testator to administer and distribute his estate upon his death. Usually, the same person is appointed as executor and trustee (a person who has the power to hold the estate of the deceased on the death of the deceased).
If there are beneficiaries who are minors (persons under the age of 21 years) named in your Will, it will be preferable to have at least two Trustees who will be able to administer or hold any assets, invest, or use any money for the benefit of the minors.
Can I Write My Own Will?
If you are 21 years of age and of sound mind, you may make your own Will and alter it during your lifetime without using the services of a lawyer. However, without proper legal advice, you run the risk of your Will being challenged or deemed invalid after your passing. Given that your Will is exercised only after your passing, it is important to seek legal advice so that your estate lands in the hands of your intended beneficiaries and will not be subject to complications upon your passing.
If you are less than 21 years of age, you can only make a Will if you are a soldier in active military service, a mariner or a seaman at sea.
What If I Do Not Have A Will?
If there is no Will upon your passing, then your estate will be distributed in accordance to Singapore’s Intestate Succession Act (section 7: Rules of Distribution).
As a general rule, the priority of distribution is as follows:
Spouse and children
Aunts and Uncles.
However, the actual distribution rules are complicated and it may be necessary to seek advise from a lawyer in order to determine whether or not a Will should be drafted in order to best reflect your wishes upon your passing.