At what age should one consider writing up a will and start thinking about wealth transfer? Some people think that writing a will should only be done when you are on your death bed. This is not true. In fact, it would make more sense to make our estate plan while we are young and healthy. Just as many of us start saving for retirement the moment we enter the workforce, taking care of legacy planning and wealth transfer matters are also part and parcel of practicing good financial hygiene.
Understandably, Asians especially will feel that it is pantang to think about mortality, let alone plan for it. However, estate planning will clarify what will happen to your belongings and if they will go to the right people and places after the inevitable happens.
In Singapore, when one dies without a Will, the estate settlement process can become costlier and lengthier for one’s family members. One’s assets will be distributed according to the Intestate Succession Act. When that happens, how your assets will be divided among your beneficiaries could be very different from what you envisioned. Having a Will in place pre-empts this.
As uncomfortable as the thought of death may be, we promise you that it is a rewarding process. When you are done, you’ll feel more confident and reassured that your hard-earned wealth will end up in the right hands even when you’re no longer around.
If you need a push to get the ball rolling, here are seven trigger events that provide good reason to write a will.
1. Turning 21
In Singapore, one gets their first chance at writing a will upon turning 21 years old. Why not start #adulting on the right foot and go for it?
2. When you’ve accumulated cash or other assets
Have you just only started working? Received a bonus? Won the lottery? No matter how large or small the sum of money in your hands, they will go to your heirs. If you don’t want your assets to be distributed according to the Intestate Succession Act, you should draw up specific instructions with a Will.
3. When you get married, or divorced, or remarried
Marriage, divorce, and remarriage are significant life events which warrant the writing (or rewriting) of a will. When you get married or remarried, the will that you made beforehand will become invalid. Do you want your current spouse to inherit your wealth, and how much of it? How do you wish to provide for the children you had with your ex-spouse?
A will would provide clarity in such circumstances and prevent any family disputes.
4. When your children are born, and when they turn 21
Although the Intestate Succession Act does provide for your children, a will can guarantee that they are taken care of exactly the way you intend. For example, a will can be used to name a guardian for children below 21 in case both parents die.
When your children turn 21, you may wish to update your will accordingly and even name one of them as an executor.
5. When you start a business
Congratulations on taking the first steps to building an empire. Have you thought about your succession plan? Are you grooming your family members to take over the business or do you plan for someone else to do so? Do you plan to leave your business to more than one person? You will need to think about the share of the business each beneficiary will get.
6. When you buy a piece of property or major financial asset
Acquiring a piece of property, or a hefty financial asset, will significantly increase the value of your asset portfolio. This could affect whom you choose to name as your beneficiaries and what share of your assets you want to leave them. If your property is a HDB flat, you may wish to consult the HDB website on the terms and conditions of transferring the interest of the flat upon demise of an owner.
7. When you’ve done all the above, and still have not written a Will
Experts advise that you review and update your estate plans at least every five years, and after any of the abovementioned major events happen. A change in your priorities, liabilities, and family relationships can impact the way you wish to distribute your estate.
Planning your legacy with iWills is more than just writing a will. Users get to compile and review their schedule of assets with the visually comprehensive Legacy Dashboard. Add your assets to the list as you accumulate them, thus making sure that no stone is unturned as you map out your wealth. Make a new will in minutes, or take as long as you need on iWills user-friendly interface.
Start distributing your wealth, your way by writing your will with iWills. Create an account for free now and experience the best of what our platform has to offer over 30 days.
This article has been adapted from The Week.