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Wills in Singapore

A will, according to the Wills Act (1996), [1] is a legal document, which states what a testator (person making the will) may devise, bequeath or dispose of his personal estate among his beneficiaries (those who will inherit under the will).

Creating a will allows you to decide how your belongings should be distributed.

While anyone can make a Will, if the testator is 21 years or older, he is advised to consult a wills lawyer whom will advise and draft the Will according to law in Singapore. The risk of not engaging a lawyer for your will is that the homemade Will may be invalid and ineffective towards the testator’s beneficiaries.

When creating a Will, one should state the beneficiaries to whom he wishes to give away his property and assets. These assets can include the testator’s cash and shares, however, not a joint owned bank account or house. Furthermore, a list of liabilities should be included – stating how debts will be paid off.
The executor, a person nominated by the testator to distribute the deceased’s assets to the beneficiaries upon his death, will have the duty of settling the deceased’s debts and executing the Will.

A Will is revoked by marriage, so it will be cancelled unless the Will was made in contemplation of marriage.

One should review his Will regularly to ensure that all is in correspondence to the Wills Act and is updated with the testator’s life.
Lastly, if one passes away without making a Will, his assets will be distributed according to the Intestate Succession Act, where then the personal representation will have to apply for Letters of Administration to obtain the testator’s assets.

Grant of Probate

If the decreased has estates, then A Grant of Probate (if decreased has left a Will) or Grant of Letters of Administration will be needed for the executor (person nominated by the testator to distribute the deceased’s assets to the beneficiaries) to be authorized to deal with the deceased’s assets. The executor should apply for a Grant of Probate within six months after the deceased’s death. If no Will is provided, the beneficiary should then apply to court for a Grant of Letters of Administration.

A Grant of Probate is a court order given to the executor; it is proof that the author of the Will has decreased, the Will is authentic and the executor is authorized to administer the Will. Once a Grant of Probate has been granted, the executor can then access the deceased’s assets.

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