Wednesday, March 18, 2009

No Will? No Money?

I have been very busy since my return from Australia 3 days ago. There was plenty of backlog with my work and I was busy preparing our team for our first ever roadshow in Suntec City from 18th Mar to 22nd Mar. I also spent quite a bit of time in handling issues with regards to my late uncle's estate. Eventually none of my task was done properly. Very stressful and how I wish I can stop time for a while to breathe.

I like to share part of my experience while handling my late uncle's estate and found it truly frustrating.

Problem 1:
His HDB flat is registered solely under his name as he was a divorcee. All his children are underage and my granny is not eligible to own that HDB flat. Technically, the house should be sold, but if sold, where my granny and his children going to stay?
* HDB allowed us a grace period where we must get the court to appoint an administrator to take over control of the flat.

Problem 2:
If the administator took over control of the flat, he must continue pay for the monthly mortgage instalment and all the expenses with regards to the flat. End of the day, the house will still belongs to the kids.
* The next problem is that everyone is trying to avoid being that administator when my uncle don't have so money to fully pay off the house?

Problem 3:
Went to seek lawyer's advice on this issue and to check on the administration process. The legal fee, dispensation of surety and the court fees cost around $4,500. Next problem is that no one want to come out with this money. They want me to bring the kids and granny to see Member of Parliament to try get cheaper alternative.

Problem 4:
While trying to find money. I was hoping for the successful claims from Great Eastern and NTUC Income. The cheque from GE was not released because they demanded a letter of administation before the payout. Luckily NTUC Income did not demand this letter of administation and had payout the insurance proceeds within 1 week on submission.

Problem 5:
The kids expenses are high and they spending without parental control. The bank account money will run dry fast with such expenditure and I have no rights to scold them and my granny is too old to control them. The Education policies from NTUC Income did not come with the premium waiver rider. All policies must continued to be paid. There was no HPS or Mortgage Term plan and hence the housing loans must be paid as well.

Most problem lies with 2 issues. No Will and No Money.

When it comes to "No Will", a lot of things are delayed and you have to spend more money in the legal process. There are also no proper guidance to the kids and who supposed to have control over them.
When it comes to "No Money", nobody wants to be responsible. Its not that they have no money, its because they want government to pay and want me to meet the MP.

Its certainly not easy to translate all these legal and estate stuffs into Hokkien to my uncles and aunties. I'm trying to convince them not to waste time looking for MP and pay the legal fee to get things done. The outstanding interest from the mortgage is compounding. I may also try get Great Eastern to release the DPS money on compassionate reason without the need of letter of administation.

Sometimes how I wish my late uncle had left behind some money for me to compensate all the time and frustration I'm bearing for him. I'm the family "Chosen One" because I'm a financial planner and they know that I don't need to report to office everyday like my other cousins and siblings.

From this scenerio, I'm more convinced that I must get people to have adequate Insurance and to get their Will done to avoid such mess...


Anonymous said...

HDB wants you to appoint an administrator. Just ignore HDB. Why not appoint HDB as the administrator? What is the worst that can happen? Just let the kids continue staying there. See whether HDB dare to evict them. Let the interest compound. Nobody is going to pay for it. It is only on paper. When the kids grow up and have their own flats then the problem will be solved by itself.
Why spend 4,500 dollars to enrich the already rich? Administrator my foot. Ask HDB to pay you to become an administrator.
Sometimes I wonder how HDB can be so naive to think that anyone will want to fork out money and pay while not having any returns on the flat.
My suggestion is just to leave things as it is. It is just like crossing a traffic light. In Singapore, we are supposed to just stand still and wait for the light to turn green even though minutes passed without any cars in sight. It is fine if it is a fine day. But if it is raining cats and dogs and the danger of a lightning strike, will you still stand there and wait for the light to turn green just because Mah Bow Tan says so?

Anonymous said...

Adrain, you didn't do your duty as a nephew and as an insurance agent. if you gave him advice on estate planning this would not have happened. Why learn estate planning when you don't use to help?
How come the flat had no mortgage insurance?

Anonymous said...

The anonymous "March 20, 2009 2:15 AM" does seem to have a point. Adrian, you could gather your relatives and together with yourself to write a letter and declare that all of you decided to appoint "HDB" as the adminstrator. Seriously i doubt HDB is willing but nevertheless you would have done your job by getting everyone to agree on whom to appoint as the adminstrator.

Khiat Han Hwee Adrian said...

Approached a few legal firms and managed to find one compassionate enough to charge a lower legal fee for this case. The administation process may take around 6 months. Hopefully, a room can be rented out by then to collect some income for the family.

nhyone said...

The kids expenses are high and they spending without parental control. The bank account money will run dry fast with such expenditure and I have no rights to scold them and my granny is too old to control them.

It sounds like you are looking forward for them to run out of money?

If not, you better advise them to be prudent with their spending! Who's their breadwinner?

Anonymous said...

To anonymous "March 20, 2009 10:43 AM",

I am unsure why Adrian's reasons of not helping his uncle do estate planning and/or insurance planning but as a financial adviser myself, the most common problems are:

(1) The client refused to do any planning because he or she feels that is unnecessary - be it estate planning or insurance planning. This is the most common reason.

(2) The client is already uninsurable. Again, this is closely related to (1) because if the client did consider the importance of planning early in life, the chance of developing pre-existing illness at that young age would have be much lower.

(3) The client has a misconception that insurance is expensive. Unfortunately many agent only sell expensive plans because of greater commission

(4) Due to not have any commission earned, the adviser gets nothing for giving advice on estate planning (there is nothing to sell for estate planning).

So Adrian, I hope you will be moving to fee-based financial planning soon. This is your only way to saves life.

Anonymous said...

You are right, most clients think that insurance is already expensive and planning will be even more expensive because more will be planned for the client. This is caused by insurance agents over all these years that consumers have this perception that agents are out to make the most out of them.
Probably, this is the reason that Adrain's uncle chose DIY, what he could afford of wholelife. People only know about wholelife a saving plan and they all want to save and this is insurance. The agents still push their whole life this way even with vivolife when I was accosted at a ntuc roadshow.
No wonder people like Adrain's uncle passed on without leaving enough for his kids.
This should be cause for legal suit against the agent. Adrain should explore this with a lawyer to see the fact finding form if the agent committed conflict of interest or mis-selling.
This is a chance for you to bring the agent to justice.

Khiat Han Hwee Adrian said...

I did not recommend any insurance to my late uncle because I was quite distant to him prior his illness. Its like seeing him once every year only during CNY.

I told him once about writing a will but stopped short asking the second time because its a bit sensitive and awkward to remind him during those few occasions we met again.

Sometimes a person being under insured may not be entirely agent's fault. We never know what happened then? My uncle wasn't educated and he don't even know that he have some insurance when he was down with cancer. Anyway, I really don't know who that agent is. Those policies were purchased donkey years ago.

Anonymous said...

You are giving excuses. Are you saying that all those who bought insurance from you all these years are all closer to you than your uncle?
Is it so difficult to find out who your uncle's agent is?
Precisely because your uncle is uneducated that is why he needs your education of him in insurance most since you are so educated.
Anyway, you should now approach and educate all your other relatives, especially those who are not educated, to make sure it does not happen again.

Anonymous said...

your uncle is an example and is a representative of the the consumers at large, uneducated, gullible, ignorant, trusting or untrusting and easy prey for product pushing insurance agents and eventually became a prey of his own fear.
You should crusade for changes in the way consumers' needs are approached. Instead of becoming a spokesman for ntuc income you should also be honest in your assessment of their products.

Everlearning said...

Being a close relative at times is much harder to convince him/her the need to fully insured or financially prepared for unforseen circumstances.

It is an extremely sensitive issue. Adrian with his knowledge could share, not advise his elderly relatives because Adrian's good intention might be misinterpreted because of his profession.

Sometimes, with this AIG near to collapse, insurance is no longer that CERTAIN as seen before.

Anonymous said...

I can understand the author's difficulty. Look, not everybody has a foresight or proper financial planning especially those less educated one. When problem hit, someone else (most of the time close relative) will have to clear the mess. I don't have a solution for Adrian, I can only give him morale support, it seems to be to many problems at one glance, it seems impossible to get it solve over night so just tackle it one at a time, one by one it will be ironed when time pass.