My dad passed away early this year. It was unexpected and my family was totally unprepared for his demise. Like many Singaporeans, my father did not plan his estate distribution and left without a Will. So we had some problems trying to close his bank saving accounts. We were also initially unsure how to claim his CPF monies. Thankfully CPF Board wrote to us and informed that he had made a CPF nomination many years ago, so we were able to withdraw his CPF monies within weeks. The lesson learned out of this episode is to have a proper planning for financial matters while you are still around. It is important that you set clear directions on how you want the money which you worked hard for in your life to be distributed according to your wishes after you passed on.
Intestate Succession Act
In the absence of a Will, your assets will be distributed according to the Intestate Succession law. The rules are rather inflexible and sometimes, your estate might not be allocated according to your wish. That is, your money might not go to the people whom you feel need it most. For example, if your wife and children are financially independent, you might want to provide for your elderly parents instead.
Under the Act, in the absence of a Will, your estate will be distributed according to the below:
1) Spouse only: 100%
2) Spouse and child: 50% Spouse and child
3) Spouse and parents: 50% Spouse and parents
4) Brothers and sisters only: 100%
5) Grandparents only: 100%
6) Uncles and aunts only: 100%
7) Government: 100%
Plan ahead to avoid conflicts
Having a Will can certainly minimize unnecessary complications after you have passed on. It is about being responsible to your loved ones and ensuring that the people you care about receive your money in the manner you want them to. Your will must set out your wishes clearly, so it is advisable for you to seek legal advice when preparing your Will. This is to ensure its validity. Planning ahead will not only protect your interests but also reduce the stress on your loved ones. So do plan your estate and make your CPF nominations now. Don't procrastinate. Take action.