Monday, December 8, 2008

Some things about Wills (2)

As mentioned, I will like to share who are the people you need to consider before you write a Will. Most people will only think of who will be the beneficiaries, they normally neglect the many other parties involved. So who are the parties involved? Let me share:

The Personal Representative
* The term Personal Representative refers to the individuals provided with the authority to administer the estates of the Deceased
* The term covers both Intestate and Testate case. If the Deceased died testate, the PR is called an Executor. If the Deceased died Intestate, the PR is called the Administrator
* In the Intestate case, the PR only gets the title of Administrator once he has taken out Letters of Administration

The Executors
* Duties: Locate Will, make funeral arrangements, call in assets, pay or release debts, prepare statement of account and distribution
* Can initiate legal action on estate’s behalf
* Power of Attorney: Implied power to engage professional help or agents to administer estate
* Duty to ensure reasonable returns from investment
* Statutory power to make advances to Beneficiaries for maintenance and education
* To distribute specific gifts

The Trustees
* Duties: Administer estate in cases where properties cannot be distributed. E.g minor Beneficiaries, life interest, Trust expressly created by Will
* Manage estate in accordance with the instructions and powers conferred under the Will or accordingly to the Trustee Act

The Guardian
* Custody of the minor child will be given to the appointed Guardian(s)
* The Guardians basic duty is to prudently administer the minor’s interest
* Make necessary applications to Court to sell, charge, mortgage, exchange possession of any of movable or immovable property of the minor or if they intend to lease land belonging to the minor for a term exceeding 1 year

The Beneficiaries
* People named in the Will to receive Gifts
* If the Testator is predeceased by the Beneficiary, the Testator can either make a new Will, or allow the relevant item to fall into residuary estate
* If the Testator omits dependants as beneficiaries, they are entitled by Law to apply for a reasonable proportion of the estate for their maintenance

The Witness / The Translator
* These are some of the other important people in preparation of the will.
* Witness should preferably not be any of the beneficiaries or those with close relation of the bebeficiaries like spouse or children, etc.
* At least 2 witnesses are required and they must really be present to witness the signing of the Will to be effective.
* If Translator is required, make sure the translator is a competent one with proficient in the 2 languages.

Writing a Will cost nothing if you know how to write it but its nevertheless advisable to seek help from a professional to ensure your Will to be correctly worded and effective. A simple Will cost around $200. My opinion is that its not necessary to save that $200 for that important piece of instruction to your loved ones in event you can no longer tell them so.


Anonymous said...

The Intestate Succession Act does not include any provision for assignment of guardian. You might want to add this.

In the event both parents perish, which set of inlaws get custody of the kids? Need a will for this, to prevent the inlaws from arguing and fighting an ugly lawsuit.

Khiat Han Hwee Adrian said...

You are right to say this. Without specifying who will have the guardianship of the Child is indeed a problem.