Making a will: Suppose you die suddenly?

What parents need to know about drawing up a will to ensure that their children are well looked after…

Parents- Making-a-will-Suppose-you-die-suddenly

As a young parent, you’re busy handling dirty diapers, making sure mouths are fed, and ensuring your household runs smoothly. So, the last thing you’ want to think about is death.

But there’s good reason to look into what happens after you’re gone. What happens to your assets, and who will care for your children if you do pass on suddenly?

“If there is no will, then the laws of intestacy in Singapore will apply ― these rules are very rigid,” notes Ang Kim Lan, managing director of Goodwins Law Corporation.

Under these laws, or the Intestate Succession Act, the distribution of the deceased person’s estate has to follow certain rules. If the deceased:

· Leaves behind a surviving spouse but no children and no surviving parents The gets the entire estate. 

· Leaves behind a surviving spouse and children ― the spouse is entitled to half the estate. The remaining half is to be equally divided among the children.

· Leaves behind children but no surviving spouse or parents ― the children will be entitled to the estate in equal portions.

·  Leaves behind a surviving spouse and surviving parents, but no children ― the spouse will be entitled to half the estate, and the parents to the other half.

However, the rigid system can frustrate the deceased’s loved ones. So, a will can prevent family disputes from arising, which is what happens when no wills are made out.

Writing a will can also help remove any complications in administration, and reduce potential financial costs.

 

As a parent you want to ensure that your children will be taken care of should you pass on before they do.

 

“For instance, young children, under intestacy, may inherit part of a property, but because they are below 21 years old, any transaction involving the property will need a court order,” Ang explains. “This will be time-consuming and costly. If you have a will, you can decide who should inherit the property, and/or in what proportion.”

You will also be able to decide on who the executor is ― the person who will carry out the wishes in your will.

Parents should also appoint a trustee to manage your assets, until your child is an adult.

More crucial, in most parents’ eyes, is the issue of guardianship. As a parent you want to ensure that your children will be taken care of should you pass on before they do.

With a will, you get to choose who should be your young children’s guardian. “You should choose someone who shares the same values, or even the same religion. You do not want your savings wiped out quickly by someone who is bad with money, leaving your children penniless,” says Ang.