A will is a legal document that sets forth how an individual’s asset will be managed and distributed upon one’s death. The will leave the asset specifically to named individuals known as beneficiaries. You must be witnessed by at least two witnesses. These witnesses can be any majors (above 21 years of age) except for the following:

  • Spouse of the will
  • Beneficiaries of the

The maker of the will must be of sound mind and of legal age. You may wonder is it worth the effort and money to engage a lawyer to write a will. My advice is you should consider leaving the drafting of wills to professional. Wills are too important and too technical to leave to an amateur’s effort.

When writing your will, be mindful of the type of estate you own and how that estate is titled. Wills do not transfer property that goes by other planning devices or by operation of law.

Remember joint tenancy which automatically provides that the surviving tenant becomes the legal owner of the assets regardless of what a will says. It may be important to know what your assets are and not affect your will. Prior to your death, your will is revocable – it can be amended, altered, or revoked a number of times. Therefore, the date on which the will was drafted should be clearly specified.

Only the latest will shall be legally enforceable. At death, the will becomes irrevocable.

Dying Without a Will

will

Notes:

  • Legally adopted children but not illegitimate children have succession rights on the death of an intestate under the Intestate Succession Act.
  • The Act does not apply to the estate of any Muslim or affect any rules of the Muslim law in respect of the distribution of the estate of any such person.
  • No distinction is made between relatives of the same class whether of the paternal or maternal side.
  • Full blood relatives take before half blood relatives of the same class.

Source: Financial Life Coaching Pte Ltd (Used with permission.)

Trust

A trust is a legal arrangement involving three parties: the grantor, the trustee and beneficiaries. The grantor is the one who sets up the trust. He is the owner of assets that are being transferred to the trustee. The trustee can be an individual or an institution. The trustee is responsible for managing the assets for the benefit of the beneficiaries of the trust.

The advantages of setting up a trust are:

  1. Competent management of assets (trustee can be a professional institution.)
  2. Protection of assets.
  3. Confidentiality.
  4. Avoidance of probate.
  5. Flexibility.
  6. Tax benefits (estate duty imposed is minimised.)

In conclusion, if you have not prepared an estate plan, now is the time to do it. Gather information, make plans and set up an appointment with an attorney to review them. Communicate your desires to your family and loved ones.

Remember that your last will and testament is your lasting opportunity to share your love for the Lord and with your family and friends.

Be faithful, even to the point of death, and I will give you the crown of life.

~ Revelation 2:10

Questions:

  1. What is a will?
  2. What happens if I die without a will?
  3. What is the advantage of setting up a trust?
Week 50 – Wills and Trusts