Formalities of a Will

The most common way of transferring your assets after your death to your loved ones or any other beneficiaries is by having a will prepared and executed. In that regard, the Wills Act specifies that a will must be:

–        in writing and signed at the end by the testator;

–        made by a testator who is at least 21 years old and of sound mind;

–        (if the testator is under 21 years old) made by a testator who is a solder in active military service, a mariner, or a seaman at sea

–        witnessed by two persons at the signing of the will, both of whom must also be present at the point of execution of the will; and

–        witnessed by nobeneficiary in the will or a spouse of a beneficiary in the will.

What should be considered before you write a will?

Compile a list of all your assets in Singapore and elsewhere, such as:

– bank accounts (single or in joint names);

– insurance policies (please also state if there are nominations);

– real property (single or in joint names);

– any accounts with financial institutions;

– any businesses and usiness interests; and

– any other relevant property.

– Who shall be your beneficiaries (who will be receiving the gifts)? What shall they each receive in your will?

Beneficiaries are the persons whom you would want to benefit from your estate. They can be individuals such as your family members or organizations such as charities.

– Who shall be the guardian for your children who has yet to hit the age of majority?

If you have minor beneficiaries who are still below 21, it is advisable to appoint close relatives or friends as the guardians that both parents generally agree on.


– Who shall be the executors and/or trustees of your will?

While executors and trustees can still be beneficiaries in your will , such people should be someone you trust with your assets. These should be the persons you would want to entrust to execute the instructions in your will properly. As the office of executor and trustee is an onerous one, these persons should be prepared to give time and attention to carry out such responsibilities.

CPF Nominations

CPF Nominations allows CPF members to nominate who should receive their CPF savings, and how much should each nominee receive upon their death.

You must be 16 years and above to make a CPF Nomination.

Your savings will be transferred to the Public Trustee’s Office (“PTO”) for distribution to your family members. The PTO will charge beneficiaries an administration fee for the distribution of your CPF savings.


Writing the Will

You do not need a lawyer to write a will but the risks of not engaging one can include that:

–        the clauses in the will may not function as you intended them to;

–        the clauses may be left too ambiguous;

–        you may have left something (i.e. a beneficiary or an asset) out of the will;

–        you may have not named a substitute beneficiary, trustee or executor; and

–        you may not have considered all the consequences of your wishes.


After executing the Will

After the will has been executed, it is advisable that you should register your will with the Wills Registry. The Wills Registry will not keep a copy of the will but will instead record pertinent information related to the will including:

–        details of the person making the will;

–        date of the will;

–        details of the person who drew up the will; and

–        details of where the will is held.

Depositing such information with the Wills Registry can be done online at the Ministry of Law website (listed under eServices). It costs S$50 to deposit information on your will with the Wills Registry.

When will a will be revoked automatically?

A will made before marriage will be revoked by marriage. However, a divorce will not revoke a will made prior to the divorce. Additionally, a will can be revoked by a newly written will by including a clause in the newly written will that explicitly specifies that this newly written will revokes all previous wills made by the testator.


How we can help

At I.R.B Law LLP we have experienced Wills and Probate Lawyers who are passionate about justice and fairness. Our lawyers will be able to guide you through composing a will or applying for a grant of probate or letter of administration at each and every stage of the proceedings. We firmly believe that everyone should be entitled to professional legal advice and service at affordable rates.

Should you be in a position where you may need our assistance, please do not hesitate and contact us at [email protected] or call us at +65 6589 8913 so that we can advise you on your matter.

 The information contained in this article is provided for general information only and may not reflect current status in relation to applicable law, cases, settlements or judgments. Nothing contained on this website or article is intended to constitute legal advice, nor should it be construed as I.R.B Law LLP agreeing to provide legal services to you. You acknowledge and agree that your use of this website shall not create a lawyer-client relationship with I.R.B Law LLP.