Why should I still do up a Will if I am okay with the distribution based on the Intestate Succession Act?

We often get questions such as I don't have a Will, how will XXX be or is the distribution going to be XXX? While I can understand you want to know "is the outcome going to be okay if I maintain status quo without a Will" but try to think of it another way.  You should think of a Will like a plan for your future generations. It is possible that things may fall into place smoothly without a plan, just like how you can jump off a plane without a Certified Instructor or a backup parachute. Given a choice, why risk it?

In Singapore, the Intestate Succession Act governs how your assets are to be split without a will.

While the act provides for some family members, it is not always “fair” nor does it always cover all your loved ones whom you care about, including your parents who toiled to bring you up. You may also end up benefiting people who are not deserving -  such as estranged parents, siblings or even distant relatives.

Assuming you are more or less okay with how your Estate is to be split without a Will (i.e. based on Intestate Succession Act), that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t meet with a Certified Estate Planner to get your Will done. Here are some of the potential pitfalls without a Will ( click on the link to find out more about each point).

Additionally, there is also so much more to just writing a Will. While part of the Estate Planning process involves getting a Will done, it involves so much more than that! Estate Planning involves difficult conversations:

  • What are the assets do you currently own? There’s a famous case study where the Estate was meant to be split 3 ways including joint-bank accounts, where if you know because of how joint assets are, any surviving owners automatically inherit the asset. Unfortunately, in this case the conflict ended up with the 3 sons severing all family ties.
  • Is it sufficient? If there’s only $100K meant to cater for a family of four who are either not working or underage, how do you think it will work out?
  • Can they handle it? Yet another famous case study where 1 million dollars (including donations) passed down to the family went up in smoke in just one year. This is where having a trust can help, to stagger payouts especially when you don’t think the beneficiaries are apt to handle large sums of money
  • Would you still like to do more to motivate and pass down the right values to future generations? Through a trust, you can put forth conditions such as to only pay out if the individual achieves a certain education level thus motivating him/her to do so.
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