The Complete Guide to Making Your Will in Singapore

Last updated on April 30, 2019

guide book to will making in Singapore.

Are you an unmarried single, married with children or a divorcee?

No matter who you are, and which stage of life you’re at, writing a will is every adult’s personal responsibility to ensure that our loved ones are properly taken care of, when we pass away.

For example, you may want to allocate monies to family members who may require financial support, sell off a property to make loan repayments, and/or appoint a testamentary guardian to continue caring for your children after your passing.

But first, let us take you through what exactly is a will? And, hopefully provide you with a few convincing reasons on why you should make a will.

What is a Will?

A will is a legal document that sets out your wishes for the distribution of your estate (i.e. everything you own, including your assets and monies), as well as for the care of any minor children (i.e. children below 21 years old) you may have, upon your death.

Why Should I Make a Will?

By making a will, you are appointing a trusted person (i.e. an executor) to manage your affairs and/or a testamentary guardian to care for your minor children, on your behalf, after you pass away.

Having a testamentary guardian is especially important in a simultaneous death situation, in the event that both you and your spouse pass away at the same time.

For example, if you and your spouse pass away in the same car accident, a testamentary guardian could step in to protect your children and have custody over them.

If a testamentary guardian is not appointed, anyone may apply to the court to be a guardian for your children.

And, in the case where no persons apply to be the guardian of any of your children who are below 16 years old, they will be placed in a home under the care and protection of the Ministry of Family and Social Development (MSF).

Or, if you’re married with no children, but you have left behind a mortgage signed under your sole name, you could make a will to account for the mortgage repayment.

For example, you could write in your will that you wish to sell a certain property to pay off the mortgage. This will remove the burden off your spouse to assume the mortgage loan.

What Happens If I Die Without Making a Will?

On the other hand, should you choose not to make a will, you will have much less control over what happens to your estate after you pass away.

This is because your estate will be distributed, by default, following the rules in Singapore’s Intestate Succession Act (ISA), and such distribution may not be according to your wishes.

For example, if you are married with children and pass away without a will, your estate will be inherited by your spouse and children (50% each). This is perfectly fine if you intended for your estate to be distributed to your spouse and children only.

However, if you had wanted your estate to also be distributed to other people, such as any parents or siblings who are struggling financially, unfortunately this will not happen.

This is because under the ISA, if you were survived by your spouse and children, your estate will be distributed entirely between these parties. This is even if you were also survived by other family members.

As a result, neither your parents nor your siblings will receive any portion of your estate.

Hence, it may be wise to make a will to avoid such situations and ensure that all your loved ones receive the portions of your estate as you wish.

If you’re still reading, we take that we’ve convinced you on why you should make a will.

But hold on, before you dive into making a will (which you should soon after), take a few minutes to read our complete will-making guide that may have just the right answers to some of your burning questions:

  • What are the assets I can distribute under a will?
  • How do I distribute these assets?
  • Do I need a lawyer to make a will?
  • What happens if my beneficiaries (i.e. the persons to inherit my assets) pass away before me?
  • Where should I store my will?

Download our wills guide to gain a comprehensive look into these questions on will-making:

Then, if you have simple requirements for your will, you can make your will online using WillMaker, our convenient and affordable online will-making service.

Happy will-making!

Estate Planning
  1. Plan Intergenerational Wealth With a Singapore Family Office
  2. Estate Planning for Digital Assets (NFTs, Social Media, Etc.)
  3. 8 Tools You Must Know for Estate Planning in Singapore
  4. Guide to CPF Nominations & How to Make One In Singapore
  5. What Happens to Your Debts When You Die?
  6. Who Pays for the Mortgage Debts and Medical Bills After Death?
  7. Is Inheritance Tax Payable When You Die in Singapore?
  8. Is Stamp Duty Payable When Inheriting Property in Singapore?
  9. How to Donate your Assets to Charity
  10. Organ Donation in Singapore (under HOTA, or For Science)
  11. Finding Missing Persons in Singapore (or ‘Presumed Dead’)
Making a Will
  1. Making a Will in Singapore: What are the Formalities Involved? (2023)
  2. The Complete Guide to Making Your Will in Singapore
  3. Why Should You Make a Will?
  4. Checklist for Drafting a Comprehensive Will in Singapore
  5. Get An Affordable Will Made By Experienced Lawyers
  6. Choosing an Executor for Your Will in Singapore
  7. How to Prepare a Schedule of Assets for Your Will in Singapore
  8. Appointing a Guardian for Your Children in Your Will in Singapore
  9. What is a Mutual Will, Mirror Will and Joint Will?
  10. How to Give Away Overseas Assets in a Will in Singapore
  11. Can I Use My Will to Distribute Insurance Proceeds?
  12. Where Should You Store Your Will?
  13. How Can I Change My Will?
Preparing for Incapacity
  1. Mental Incapacity in Singapore: A Guide
  2. Mental Capacity Assessment for LPAs and Wills
  3. Appointment of Deputies under the Mental Capacity Act
  4. How to Appoint a Deputy for Mentally Incapacitated Persons in Singapore
  5. Advance Medical Directives in Singapore
  6. Making a Lasting Power of Attorney in Singapore
  7. Revocation of a Lasting Power of Attorney
  8. Advance Care Planning in Singapore: Why and How to Get Started
Setting Up a Trust
  1. Creating Pet Trusts in Singapore: Are They Legally Recognised?
  2. What is a Trust? Trust Law in Singapore
  3. Fiduciaries and Fiduciary Law in Singapore
  4. Setting Up a Discretionary Living Trust in Singapore
  5. Trust Protectors: Who are They & How to Appoint One in Singapore
Grant of Probate and Grant of Letters of Administration
  1. No Executor For Your Loved One's Will: What to Do
  2. What is Probate? Is It Needed If Your Loved One Passes Away?
  3. Can the Public Trustee Administer Your Loved One's Estate?
  4. How to Get a Copy of a Deceased's Will in Singapore
  5. Managing a Loved One's Estate After Their Death in Singapore
  6. Applying for a Grant of Probate in Singapore
  7. Intestacy: Applying for Letters of Administration in Singapore
  8. Obtaining a Fresh Grant of Probate and Resealing a Foreign Grant of Probate
  9. Comprehensive Guide to Probate Fees in Singapore
Distribution of Estate Assets
  1. Who Gets the Joint Bank Account Monies if One Owner Dies?
  2. Bona Vacantia: Dying With No Will or Relatives in Singapore
  3. Dispute with Executor of Will in Singapore: What to Do
  4. What Happens If You Die Without a Will in Singapore?
  5. An Executor’s Checklist to Executing a Will in Singapore
  6. What to Do If the Will Cannot be Found
  7. How to Contest a Will in Singapore (Grounds and Procedure)
  8. What Happens to the HDB Flat When One Owner Dies?
  9. How to Access the Bank Account of a Deceased Spouse
  10. What Happens to the Car When the Owner Passes Away?
  11. Simultaneous Death: How are Assets Distributed When Family Members Die at the Same Time?
  12. Can a half-brother be considered a next of kin? (when distributing the assets of the deceased)
  13. What happens to property when a deceased’s next-of-kin or named personal representative is uncontactable?
  14. What happens to property not accounted for in a will?
  15. What happens to a Singapore expatriate's assets when he passes on?
  16. What if a Child or Beneficiary Dies Before the Willmaker?
  17. How Can Your Minor Beneficiaries Receive Their Inheritance?
  18. Unfair Maintenance: What Can Singapore's Law Do for You?
Muslim Inheritance Law
  1. Using Hibah for Muslim Estate Planning in Singapore
  2. Can Muslims Make Nuzriah (or Nazar) in Singapore and How?
  3. Muslim Probate: Guide to Inheritance Certificates in Singapore
  4. Muslim Inheritance Law in Singapore