Making a Will in Singapore: What are the Formalities Involved?
In Singapore, wills are governed by the Wills Act, which states that a testator may devise, bequeath or dispose of his real or personal estate, via a will.
How to Make a Will in Singapore
The requirements for a valid will in Singapore are:
- The will must be committed to writing.
- The testator must be at least 21 years old.
- The testator must sign the will at the foot of the will.
- The testator’s signature must be witnessed by 2 or more witnesses, who must also sign the will in his presence.
- The 2 main witnesses cannot be beneficiaries of the will, or spouses of beneficiaries.
If the testator is unable to sign at the foot of his will, he may allow another person to sign it on his behalf and in his presence. In addition, witnesses apart from the 2 main witnesses can also be beneficiaries.
What to Include in a Will
- A list of all of your assets. A jointly-owned bank account or house cannot be devised by a will.
- A list of all your liabilities. You must state how you want your debts to be paid off before your assets are distributed to the beneficiaries.
- The beneficiaries (who to give the assets to) and guardians (for if the beneficiaries are too young), and how much each one is to receive. You may also want to include reserve (i.e. backup) beneficiaries in the event of simultaneous death.
- The executors (to carry out your will). A beneficiary may also be the executor.
- The advisors. For example, lawyers and accountants.
- A revocation clause to revoke any and all previous wills.
- A residuary clause that distributes any remainder of your estate according to your wishes. For example, if a beneficiary dies before you, the asset bequeathed to him becomes the remainder.
For more information, refer to our checklist for drafting a comprehensive will.
Will Central Provident Fund (CPF) monies be covered by your will?
As CPF savings are not covered under your will, you must make a CPF nomination if you want your CPF savings to be distributed according to your wishes upon your passing. Each nominee will receive a proportion as specified in your nomination.
Otherwise, your CPF savings will be transferred to the Public Trustee’s Office and distributed according to the rules in the Intestate Succession Act.
Cost of Making a Will in Singapore
In Singapore, it generally costs between $200 to $400 to engage a lawyer to draft a simple will. If your will is more complex (for example, if you have overseas assets to will away), your will may cost $500 and up.
Do You Need a Lawyer to Draft a Will in Singapore?
You do not strictly need a lawyer to write a will. However, it is best to engage a wills lawyer if your requirements on who should inherit your assets are rather complex.
There are also will-writing services offered by non-lawyers. It is not true that these services will definitely be priced lower than lawyer services. Given the competitive legal market now, it is possible to engage a lawyer to write a will for approximately the same price as other will-writing services.
We also offer a WillMaker service for individuals to conveniently make a will online by themselves for $89 per will. This flat fee includes unlimited edits and downloads of the will document for 1 month.
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