Why Should You Make a Will?
The word ‘will’ often connotes death and one’s last words. Some of us think that making a will is threateningly inauspicious. Others, who are much more optimistic, prefer not to think about it at all. Either way, all of us must confront death eventually and we want to ensure that the loved ones we leave behind are well provided for even in our absence. Hence, it is both important and necessary to make a will.
Here are 5 key reasons why you should do so:
1. You Decide How Your Estate is Distributed
A will ensures that your assets, such as the properties you own, your CPF monies and stock and shares, are handed over to your loved ones according to your wishes. Without a will, your estate will be distributed according to the Intestate Succession Act.
For example, if a man passes away and leaves behind a surviving spouse but has no children and his parents are deceased, the spouse will be entitled to the entire estate. He may have wanted a close friend to inherit some portion of the estate, but since he did not make a will, his friend will not be allowed to make any claims to his estate.
With a will, you can choose how your assets are to be distributed after your death.
2. You can Appoint a Guardian to Look after Your Children
Our children are the source of our greatest joys and worries. You would want to have someone you trust to take care of your children when you are not around for them.
Sometimes, the guardian appointed by the Court may not be the person you believe to be capable enough of bringing up your children. For example, the Court may appoint the deceased’s brother as legal guardian of the children when he or she would have entrusted the children to his or her sister instead. You may wish to learn more about appointing a guardian for your children in your will.
3. You can Appoint Your Personal Representatives and Give Them the Power to Act according to Your Wishes
We work hard to achieve what we have in our lives. We want someone we trust to take charge of our estates and distribute them according to our wishes.
A personal representative serves as the executor of the will, and is responsible for ensuring that your beneficiaries receive what they are entitled to.
Without a will, your personal representatives will be appointed by law (usually the next-of-kin, husband or widow of the deceased) and they might not be the best people to carry out your wishes.
4. You can Choose your Funeral Arrangements
A will ensures that your decision to be cremated or buried is respected. Some of us may prefer one practice over another for personal reasons or religious beliefs.
For instance, most Hindus prefer cremation as it symbolises the end of the existence of the physical body and a new beginning for the soul.
5. You Ease Your Family Members’ Pain during this Difficult Time
One of the hardest moments in our lives is experiencing the loss of a loved one. Having a will minimises the possibility of disputes arising amongst your family members, allowing them to mourn their loss in peace without having to negotiate back and forth with lawyers.
Many Singaporeans put off will-making, as well as other forms of estate planning, as these may involve dark and gloomy (and possibly also even morbid) thoughts. However, making a will is actually a selfless act.
This is because by considering the interests of your loved ones even in your last moments, you ensure that your legacy lives on in the hearts of those you love.
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