This article is written by Adel, who is a lawyer by training, and was a litigation lawyer in her previous life. She's now an over-indulgent mum to two little girls. She currently works part time at CaregiverAsia as General Counsel. Aside from entertaining her kids, Adel spends her spare time scouring for good eats in Singapore and beyond. She especially enjoys documenting her obsession for good food in the form of photos on Instagram. Always thinking of what and where to eat next...
A Will is a legal document in which a person declares what he or she wants done with his or her property at the time of their death. A Will does not take effect until the person who wrote it, known as the testator, passes on. The testator can also revoke a Will at any time before his or her death.
In essence, a Will spells out how, when, to whom and what is to be distributed on your death. A Will is VALID as long as it:
* states how your estate should be shared out when you pass on;
* was made when you were able to make your own decisions, and you weren’t under duress (put under pressure) about who to leave your assets and property to;
* is signed and dated by you in the presence of two adults, independent witnesses, and then signed by the two witnesses in your presence.
Not only can a Will legally protect your spouse, children, and assets, it can also spell out exactly how you would like things handled after you have passed on.
While every person’s situation is unique, it is crucial that everyone should make a Will while they still have the mental capacity to do so. These are the top 6 reasons why you should do so today:
1. You decide how your estate will be distributed
A valid Will lets you determine how you would like your estate to be handled upon your death. If you pass on without a Will, there is no guarantee that your intended desires will be carried out. Having a Will helps minimize any family fights or squabbles about your estate that may arise.
2. You decide who will take care of your minor children
A Will allows you to make an informed decision about who will take care of your young children. In the absence of a valid Will, the court will take it upon itself to choose among family members or a state-appointed guardian. Having a Will allows you to appoint the person you want to raise your children or, better, make sure it is not someone you do not want to raise your children.
3. To avoid a lengthy probate process
All estates must go through the probate process, with or without a Will. Having a Will, however, speeds up the process and informs the court how you’d like your estate divided.
When you pass on without a Will (known as dying “intestate”), the court will decide how to divide estate without your input, which can also cause long, unnecessary delays, and can be stressful for your heirs and family members.
4. You decide who will wind up the affairs of your estate
Executors make sure all your affairs are in order, including paying off bills, canceling your credit cards, and notifying the bank and other business establishments. Because executors play the most significant role in the administration of your estate, you’ll want to be sure to appoint someone who is honest, trustworthy, and organized (which may or may not always be a family member).
5. Make gifts and donations
The ability to make contributions is an excellent reason to have a Will because it allows your legacy to live on and reflect your values and interests.
6. Avoid greater legal challenges
If you pass on without a Will, part or all of your estate may pass to someone you did not intend. This may be the case in unique family situations which involve ex-spouses or relatives whom you did not plan to share in your assets and property on your death.
Regardless of how small or large the size of your estate, it is prudent and essential to have a Will made. As can be seen, effective estate planning can alleviate your loved ones from unnecessary stress, inconvenience, and escalated costs.
If you are interested to learn more about Will and General Estate Planning, the benefits of making one and how to go about doing so, come to our lunchtime talk on 27 September 2018.