The Wills Act governs the making of a Will in Singapore. The Wills Act states that a testator (the person making the Will) may devise, bequeath or dispose of his real or personal estate via a Will.
The following contains the key points concerning Will writing in Singapore. Please note that this article is meant as a general guide. For more specific advice relating to your situation, you should consult a reputable wills lawyer.
Requirements of a valid Will
In general, when preparing a will, the following must be in place.
- The Will must be written.
- To make the Will, the testator must be of at least 21 years of age.
- Upon preparation by the testator, the Will must be committed with their signature at the foot of the will.
- After the preparation of the Will, 2 witnesses must be present to witness the signing of the Will by the testator. The witnesses must also leave their signatures on the Will in the presence of the testator.
- The 2 witnesses present must not be beneficiaries of the Will.
Recommended clauses in a Will
When making a Will, we recommend that you include the following clauses:
- A written list of all your assets. A bank account in Singapore that is jointly named or a shared real estate property may not be included in a will.
- A written list of all liabilities so that your executor knows how much he must pay before distributing the remaining assets to the beneficiaries.
- The beneficiary(s) or named person(s) to receive the assets.
- Guardians of beneficiaries who are still not of age.
- The amount of asset each beneficiary is to receive.
- The executors appointed to execute your written Will. A beneficiary of the will may also be appointed as the executor.
- The lawyer involved.
- A revocation clause to nullify any Will that was prepared previously.
- A residuary clause on how to distribute remaining assets based on your wishes. This could be used for situations such as when a beneficiary passes on before you. The assets originally meant for that person then becomes part of the remaining assets.
CPF money may not be included inside a written will. As such, if you wish to distribute the money inside your CPF account upon your passing, you will need to nominate a beneficiary for your CPF account. This can be done with the CPF Board. Each nominated person will receive a portion of your CPF money as indicated in your nomination. If no nomination has been made, the money inside your CPF account will be automatically transferred to the Public Trustee’s Office and made available to your next of kin.
What happens after the Will has been prepared?
Once you have done up your Will, please keep it in a safe place and inform the executor and your family about the Will.
Wills writing services by PKWA Law
While not a mandatory requirement, engaging a reputable wills lawyer is recommended. A lawyer is governed by the Law Society and must observe certain careful rules when drafting a Will. For example, a trained lawyer will determine if the instructions received are indeed from the client and are given without duress. Further, a lawyer is covered by insurance. Professional advice from a trained lawyer will thus help you devise the necessary content to include in a will, preventing unnecessary losses, conflicts or confusion in the long run.