Asked on 14 Aug 2018
Thank you for your blog. It has guided me though my university days and now into the working world :)
Without a will, your parents' assets will get stuck.
I would say that they need to understand that if they don't decide who gets their stuff when they are no longer around, then the government will decide. Do they want to leave such an important personal matter in the hands of the government? I would think not. That should be reason enough to at least make a will.
Do you mean you writing your will, or getting your parents to write one?
I was telling my parents that I was thinking of writing a will, and their immediate reaction was, 'ARE YOU SICK????'
Jokes aside - regardless of who's writing the will, you can let your parents know about horror stories of assets being fought over when someone passes away.
Hi, before planning to do a Will, need to understand more on your family structure and what are the concerns you and your parents have.
At my side, we have a monthly complimentary seminars on Will Writing presented by Lawyer and it is advisable to attend to find out more if really keen to draft a Will, thank you.
You can convince your parents that this is important to prevent government rules and laws that make separating the estate a much more difficult job for you (and your siblings if any)
I always use the government as a handy... target.
Do it coz government needs it! Don't make things difficult for me later when the government find me....
I think there are 2 ways which we breach the topic although it's really a sensitive one.
It's important to openly discuss your motives - when you bring up writing a will, it’s vital you explain why you’re broaching the subject. Make it clear that you and your siblings are not bringing this up to define what you will gain. This has nothing to do with you. Your motivation should be focused on honoring your parents wishes, as well as maintaining harmony in the family during a difficult time. The only way you’re going to be able to do this is if your parents have defined their wishes in a legal will.
It's also important to be sensitive. The prospect of writing a will means your parents have to realistically consider their own death, as well as talk about their finances. These are two unpleasant topics! It’s important to be sensitive and empathetic when you have this conversation. If your parent seems really uncomfortable, then don’t push it. Instead, bring up the subject every few weeks, or every few months. Gradually opening the door to this conversation can slowly make them feel more comfortable and open to talking about it.
As a parent in the early 50s, I would not consider this as my priorities. However, it did struck me when I started reading articles of siblings fighting over assets in court.
Such waste of money and effort because there wasn't any verbal or written direction from the elders. Before this I consider it as a taboo, now it is more of rationality.
Firstly, we need to understand what happens when we die without a valid Will in Singapore. For moveable assets, it will be distributed according to the Intestate Succesion Act: https://www.blog.pzl.sg/intestate-succession-act-singapore/
However, in order for the Intestate Succession Act to have effect, the next-of-kin will need to go through the administrative process: https://www.blog.pzl.sg/the-administrative-process-on-dying-without-a-will-in-singapore
Here is the problem:
. What if there are some assets that are not accounted for?
. What if the estate ends up with an unintended beneficiary?
. What if some random people contest the distribution?
. What if money is required urgently?
There are many questions and situations to jeopardise the entire administrative process. Try talking to them with the help of a professional or to attend talks by the government body or private organisations to allow them to understand the importance of a Will.
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Isabelle W, Business Development Manager at TrustTech
Answered on 25 Nov 2019
Hi Anon, I totally understand that broaching the topic of preparing a will to your parents might seem like an uphill task.
If your parents are family-oriented and always want the best for their kids, perhaps it would just be the lack of awareness around what a Will can do for the family and the process which they should acquire more legal knowledge on, I am sure they would then understand its importance.
My firm does regular complimentary seminars encompassing legal topics like Wills. Let me know if it is of interest to you and your family, I would be happy to let you know of our next one. All the best!
Explain that Wills are not for the deceased but for the living.
Would they wish that which your heart is broken, at the same time you have to fight off sharks and companies trying to get a share?
Consider maybe your parents wanted a simple funeral, but someone who thinks they know better will fight you tooth and nails. All because of no instructions on the form of a simple Will.
You should be able to think of something that will make sense to your parents using this template.
If no Will, if you wish for XYZ, you may not get it because of ABC will insist otherwise.
Better still, now there's the free will writing online? Check it out and let us know.
There are some inputs here, that could be helpful
For me it's rather simple, "If there's no will, it will go to the 'government', the 'government' will decide according to their guidelines, and charge fees and GST on the amount. It might not go to the ones you want."
'Government' here referes to Public Trustee
Tell your parents this: if you die without a will (i.e. intestate), you will not have control over how your assets are allocated to your surviving relatives and friends. Section 7 of the Intestate Succession Act provides rules for how an intestate's assets are divided. For example, if the intestate is survived by a spouse and children, the spouse received 50% of his estate, and the remaining 50% is divided among his children equally.
I think you can share with them the advantage of creating a will such as it prevents unnecessary conflicts, make things clearer and easier.
You can also share that creating a will is not something 'pantang', rather it is a type of responsibility. It is responsible for all that things are taken care of not just when they are alive but also when they passed on.
Of course I wish your parents to be strong and healthy and live till a good age but I think that death should no longer remains as a taboo topic and that having that openess to talk about it should be encourage within the society more often.
Sometimes it is difficult to convince your family to do something until they hear it from someone else too, and in this case, maybe a professional estate planner or bringing them to seminars about this could help them see it in a different perspective. Also, there must be a concern you identified with regards to dying without a will that made you feel that it is important to do so. Did you try bringing it across to them on the implications or problems if theres no will? :)