Myth 1. My spouse will automatically get everything when i die if i don’t have a will?

True only if you your parents are deceased and you have no children. Otherwise false as it depends on who survives you, so that if you do not have a will, your estate will be divided between your surviving spouse and your children or parents.

Myth 2. I must have a will or the government will take everything when I die?

False. If you die without a Will, but you have next-of-kin surviving you then they will be your beneficiaries under the Intestate Succession Act. The Government will take only in rare cases where there are no next-of-kin.

Myth 3. I’m not married but have children, my children will get a share even if there I have no will?

False. Singapore law does not entitle illegitimate children from receiving a share if there is no Will. Section 10(1) of the Legitimacy Act expressly provides that upon the death of a mother without a will, an illegitimate child of hers would only be entitled to succeed to her property if she does not leave behind a legitimate child.

Myth 4. I have step-children. Without a will only my children will get a share and my step-children will not?

True. Under Singapore law only legal or biological children have an entitlement. Without adoption or a Will your step-children will not get a share.

Myth 5. When I die, a lawyer needs to read my will to my family?

False. This myth comes from Hollywood dramas. It is very rare for a lawyer do this. What commonly happens is the lawyer instructed by the executor will do all the court paper work. The family and other beneficiaries usually read the will themselves.

Myth 6. The government taxes the assets of the estate?

True only if the date of death was before 15 February 2008. After that, no estate tax is payable in Singapore.

Myth 7. A will should be kept in safe place like a bank safe deposit or a safe at home?

The important thing about keeping your will is that your Executor should have ready access to it. Placing your will in a safe deposit will prevent your Executor from having access to the Will as the bank will not allow the contents of the safe deposit to be withdrawn upon the account holders death. The risk taken with placing a will in a home safe is that your Executor may not remember the access codes, especially after many years.

Myth 8. The Executor in my will can help me make important decision if I lose mental capacity?

False. A will only comes into effect upon death of the maker of the will. If you want to appoint someone to make decisions on your behalf you must do a Lasting Power of Attorney.

For assistance regarding Wills matters, do contact us to make an appointment.

Related Articles:

Wills

Business Succession

Lasting Power of Attorney

Power of Attorney

Fung Peen Lim

Author Fung Peen Lim

Fung peen is a 20 year veteran of the legal industry. A peace-maker at heart, Fung Peen proficiency in litigation makes him a valuable ally and counsel in helping his clients find amicable legal solutions, in estate planning, debt recovery, disputes, divorce. One wise saying he believes in is “A Will is a great way to love your family with the last thing they read from you”.

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