Traditionally, if you wanted to make a will you would need to visit a lawyer and instruct them on how your affairs should be settled after your death. The lawyer then drafts a will according to your instructions for you to sign.
But did you know that wills can now be made…online?
Online will-making services offer an affordable and convenient alternative option for making a will and without the hassle of visiting a lawyer.
For example, our very own WillMaker service allows you to make a will online with unlimited edits for a period of 1 month, and for a flat fee of $89.
In this article, you will learn:
- Are online wills legally valid?
- What are the benefits of making a will online?
- How do online will-making services work?
- Whether you’re eligible to make an online will
- What you should prepare before making an online will
- How to change a will you’ve made online
- How to get started with making a will online
Online wills can be made legally valid if the legal requirements according to the Wills Act are met. (These requirements also apply to wills made the “traditional” way.)
First, the person making the will must be at least 21 years old.
Then, a hard copy of the will has to be signed in the following manner:
- You sign at the end of your will
- Your signature is witnessed by 2 witnesses, who cannot be beneficiaries (or the spouses of your beneficiaries) in your will. Beneficiaries are the persons whom you are leaving assets to. The person carrying out the instructions in the will, i.e. the executor, can also be one of the witnesses if they have not been made a beneficiary (or the spouse of a beneficiary).
- Your witnesses also sign the will in your presence
After doing this, your online will would have legal effect in providing for the distribution of your assets after your death. There is no requirement for a lawyer to be involved in the will-making process.
What are the Benefits of Online Wills Compared to “Traditional” Wills?
An online will is more affordable
Online will-making services are significantly more affordable than will-making services offered by lawyers.
For example, it costs $89 per will to make a will using our online WillMaker service.
On the other hand, lawyers generally charge around $300 and up, to write a will for you. That’s just the way it is because a lawyer has to sit down with you and understand your issue before drafting out your will.
Doing the math, the potential cost savings to you if you were to make your will online, is a no-brainer.
An online will can be made faster
Online will-making services cut to the chase.
They don’t ask “How are you doing?” or have a receptionist to offer you a drink. Instead, once you start using an online will-making service, you just need to:
- Read the questions that you’re asked (e.g. “Who do you wish to name as your executor?”)
- Fill in your responses to these questions
- Make payment
- Download your will
- Get your witnesses and sign your will
Using our WillMaker as an example, if you already know who you want to leave certain assets to, you can get your online will done in as little as 20 minutes.
A trip to the lawyer’s may be appropriate if you have in mind more complex distributions (see below) which online will-making services do not cater to. But if you just need a simple arrangement, making a will online may suit your needs perfectly.
An online will can be done anytime and anywhere
One beauty of making a will online is that you can do so anywhere, and at any time of the day, as long as you have a device with an Internet connection.
For example, you could be making your will from your living room while your children are napping. You save yourself the pain of braving the heat or rain to make a trip (or multiple trips) to a lawyer’s office.
Or if the stress of ensuring your children don’t fight over your assets after your death is literally keeping you up at night, you can log on to your computer to make your will at 3 am while law firms are closed for the day.
How Do Online Will-Making Services Work?
When making a will online, you’ll typically be required to fill in an online form with details such as:
- Your personal information
- Who should carry out the instructions in your will (i.e. the “executor”)
- What assets you want to distribute after your death
- Who you want to distribute such assets to (i.e. your “beneficiaries”)
Depending on the sophistication of the online will-making service in question, you may also be able to provide more thorough instructions to handle certain situations. These include:
- Appointing a backup executor (in case your executor passes away before you)
- Stating your backup beneficiaries (in case your “first-choice” beneficiaries pass away before you)
- Appointing guardians for your children under 21
- Giving specific gifts and distributing the rest in percentages (instead of just distributing all your assets as a whole in percentages)
(Our WillMaker offers these options, by the way!)
Are You Eligible to Make an Online Will?
Age and religion requirements
As mentioned above, you will need to be at least 21 years old to make a legally valid will in Singapore. This age requirement applies regardless of whether you are making a will at a lawyer’s office or through an online service.
Online will-making services are also generally not suitable for Muslims, who are governed by different inheritance laws in Singapore.
If you are a Muslim, you may consult a Muslim inheritance lawyer on drawing up a suitable will for you.
Is the online will-making service able to cater to how you wish to distribute your assets?
As online will-making services are automated solutions, they may not come with options that cater to more complex distribution requests. These include:
- Setting up a trust in your will
- Leaving a beneficiary a life interest in your property
- Setting up monthly or deferred payments to your guardian or beneficiaries
If you have such distribution requests, get in touch with a wills lawyer who will be able to draw up a customised will for you.
What Should You Prepare Before Making a Will Online?
Before making a will online, you should decide (at the very minimum):
- Who should be the executor(s) of your will
- What assets you want to give away
- Who you want to give these assets away to, and in what proportion(s)
If you are able to answer these questions before starting to make your will online, you will speed up your will-making process even further.
The online will-making service may have other options. For example, our WillMaker allows you to appoint a guardian for your children, so you should decide if you want to do so, and who you want to appoint.
Also, take note that there are certain assets that cannot be given away in a will, regardless of whether it was made online or at a lawyer’s office. As a result, you will have to implement alternative measures for such assets separately.
For example, CPF monies can only be given away through making a CPF nomination.
How Can You Change an Online Will?
The options for changing a will you’ve made online are the same as those for changing a “traditional” will.
You may use a document known as a codicil to state the changes that you’ve made to your will. This codicil has to be signed in the same way as a will in order to be legally valid.
The other way is to make an entirely new will to avoid confusion. This is generally the recommended option. The new will should have a clause that revokes all your previous wills so they will not have any legal effect.
For example, wills made through our WillMaker service automatically come with such a revocation clause. You will also be able to make unlimited edits to your will document for 1 month.
This means that if you want to make a new will during this period of time, you can edit your existing will and create a new will – which revokes all previously-made wills – at no extra charge.
Then after making a new will, you can destroy the previous wills to avoid any confusion.
Learn more about changing your will in Singapore in our other article.
Get Started with Making Your Will Online
When it comes to making a legally valid will, there are many reasons to skip the visits to a lawyer’s office and use an online will-making service instead.
Not only are online wills easier on the wallet, they can also be done up very quickly. And from the comfort of your home to boot!
If you’re ready (and eligible) to make an online will, our WillMaker service offers the following, among other features:
- Flat fee of $89 per will
- Unlimited edits to your will for 1 month
- Ability to distribute your assets in percentages
- Ability to appoint backup executors and beneficiaries
If you already know who you want to leave your assets to and in what proportions, you may be able to produce your will document in as little as 20 minutes.