FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS
Your Questions and Answers — In One Place
What is a Will?
A will is a legal document that expresses your last wishes on how you want your estate to be dealt with on your passing. It allows you to specify who you want your estate to be distributed to and the amount that each person will get. You will also be able to appoint the most suitable person (your Executor) to execute your will and distribute your estate.
Why should I write a Will?
A will provides comfort to your family members in their time of grief. It gives clarity to your executor and can assist them in providing information on your assets and clear directions to follow. It can avoid disputes down the road if your Will is clear on how your estate should be divided. Further, you can allocate specific assets to needy family members (such as mentally disabled family members or elderly members of the family) to provide for them even after your passing.
Why should I use Bequest?
Bequest is helmed by experienced professionals from the legal and financial services industries and with our relevant expertise, we are confident that we can provide you with excellent service at affordable prices. We are able to draft fully customisable wills to suit your needs at an affordable price. We take the time to understand your individual situation to ensure that all aspects of your estate is covered and assist you in creating a quality Will applicable to YOUR particular circumstances. What we offer is above and beyond templated Wills. We identify potential issues ahead of time to ensure that key concerns are addressed and that the Will provides clear direction for your executors. The two witnesses required will also be arranged orur end, to ensure a fuss free seamless experience for you.
Do I need to appoint a lawyer to be my Executor?
No, you do not need to appoint a lawyer to be your Executor. Typically it is not cost-effective to hire lawyers to act as your Executor unless you have complicated assets (which you feel your family cannot handle) or complicated relationship (and you prefer to have an impartial third party to manage your estate). Most people appoint their spouse, their children above the age of 21 or their siblings as their Executor. Some may even choose close friends to act as their Executor. You can choose to have between 1 to 4 executors to jointly administer your estate. You may also name backup executors to replace any executors that may pass away before you.
Can my beneficiary be my Executor?
Yes, your Executor can also be a beneficiary to your estate.
Do I have to tell my Executor that I have appointed them?
It is highly recommended that you inform your Executor(s) of their appointment as they have the option to refuse the appointment of Executor at your passing. When you are unsure whether your chosen person will accept the appointment or not, it is best to ask and obtain their consent before appointing them as Executor in your Will.
My Executor is a foreigner and not a Singaporean citizen or Permanent Resident. Is that ok?
Yes, your Executor does not have to be a Singaporean.
Can I give my assets to a non-Singaporean?
Yes, you can give to non-Singaporeans but you should try as far as possible to ensure that your Executor either knows the person involved or has a means to contact the person to inform them of their inheritance.
Where should I keep my will?
You should store your original Will in a safe location. It is also highly encouraged that you inform your Executor and/or beneficiaries that you have executed a Will and the location of the Will – this is to ensure that your Executor/beneficiary will know where to locate your Will upon your passing. Alternatively, you may choose to engage our safekeeping services and store your Will with us instead.
Do I have to give a copy of my Will to anybody e.g. my Executor?
You do not have to reveal the contents of your Will to anyone unless you wish to do so. Even if you choose to inform your Executor and/or beneficiaries of the existence of your Will, you are not obliged to share the contents of the Will unless you wish to do so.
Is estate duty payable in Singapore?
Estate duty in Singapore has been abolished since 15 February 2008.
Is stamp duty payable on transfer of property via a Will?
This depends on when the property is acquired. If a time period of 3 years has passed between the date the deceased purchased the property to the date the property is given to his beneficiary, stamp duty is remitted (waived). If the time period is less than 3 years, partial stamp duty may apply in accordance with the Stamp Duties Act. The specific portion can be found here. If you intend to distribute a certain way and the beneficiaries vary that proportion internally, buyer’s stamp duty (“BSD“) and any additional buyer’s stamp duty (“ABSD“) may be applicable on that excess entitlement acquired by the beneficiary. Example: John, a widower, died with a will and gave his property to his 2 sons equally. The 2 sons have equal share to the property and if the property is transferred to the 2 sons in equal share, no stamp duty is payable on the transfer. However, if the whole property is eventually transferred to only 1 of the sons James, the transfer will be liable for BSD as well as ABSD where applicable. BSD and ABSD will be based on the consideration or market value of the property, whichever is higher, for the 50% share of the property. This is because under the will, James is only entitled to 50% share of the property.
Will marriage revoke my Will?
Yes. Under the law, marriage will revoke any Will written prior, with a few exceptions. You can consult us further on the exceptions.
I am a divorcee. Will my ex-spouse receive any of my assets upon my death?
A divorce does not revoke an existing Will (where you may have given some part of your estate to your ex-spouse) so it is important that you update/change your Will accordingly to reflect your new circumstances. If you are undergoing separation or divorce proceedings at the time of your death, your spouse may be entitled to a portion of your estate for as long as your divorce is not finalised. It is therefore strongly recommended that you do a Will to ensure that your assets go to your intended beneficiaries instead. Divorcees with children under the age of 21 should think about the best person to care for their children if they should pass away – this is especially important if you have care and control of the children.
What happens if I have children below the age of 21? Can I give my assets to my children if they are minors?
You can choose to give directly to your children even if they have not reached the age of twenty-one (21) years but any such monies will be managed by a custodian (usually the surviving parent or the guardian) until your children turn 21. However, we understand that when you have children below 21 years old, you would wish to provide for them over a sustained period of time and this may stretch past the age of 21. To facilitate that, we can assist to help you create a trust for your children such that any inheritance allotted to them will be held by a trustee until such time when they attain 21 years old (or whatever age you specify). You can leave instructions to empower the trustee to utilise the money set aside for your children for their education, medical expenses and/or maintenance.
Does the Court need to stamp my Will to make it effective?
No, your Will does not need to be stamped by the Court to be legally effective. However, after your passing, your Executor will need to submit the Will and your Schedule of Assets to the Court to obtain Grant of Probate in order to commence adminstration.
Can I appoint someone via my Will to decide on matters relating to me in the event I am in a coma or mentally incapacitated?
No, you will need to execute a Lasting Power of Attorney (LPA) for that. A Lasting Power of Attorney allows you to appoint a donee to make decisions for you should you lose mental capacity to do so. LPAs are managed by the Office of the Public Guardian and need to be registered with them. After registration of your LPA, if you are certified by a medical practitioner to be mentally incapable to make your own decisions (e.g. in a coma, suffering from dementia, etc), your donee may apply to make decisions (either personal welfare decisions, financial decisions or both) for you based on the LPA you have prepared beforehand. Once the court has ratified the application, the donee will have authority over you until you recover enough to make your own decisions (e.g. you wake up from a coma) or if you pass away. You can find more information on the LPA on our LPA page or on the Office of the Public Guardian’s website. A will only covers how your estate is to be divided upon your death and appointment of the requisite executors and guardians (if needed).
I have more questions or I am interested to proceed with doing up my Will and Lasting Power of Attorney? What is the next step?
You may book a consultation appointment with us. An email will be sent to you with some pointers to think about before the appointment, and the information to prepare. When you come down to our office, you will be guided through the entire process. Typically it takes one to two sessions before your will is finalised and signed. If you wish to complete the process in a single session, just ensure all necessary details you wish to include in your will is on hand, and simply indicate this request in the Remarks box of the booking form.