What is a Joint Will?
A joint will is one in which a married couple (or two or more testators) execute an identical will jointly to ensure that their property is distributed in accordance with both of their wishes. This is written in a single document that complies with the formal requirements of drafting a will and takes effect as the separate wills of the people who made it.
Although rarely utilized in practice, joint wills can be suitable when they are used to exercise a joint power of appointment. These days, however, the majority of will and probate lawyers in Singapore prefer to discourage using this type of will because of potential complications. These issues can arise if one party passes away or wants to cancel the will.
Who are qualified to execute a Joint Will?
Any two or more individuals who are at least 21 years old and have the legal capacity to make a will can execute it. This means that they must be of sound mind and not under duress or undue influence when signing the will.
A joint will can be drawn up by:
- Members of one’s family
- Business associates
- Asset co-ownership
Keep in mind that only parties who jointly own assets may execute a joint will in Singapore, and the will applies solely to those assets.
Can a surviving spouse change the will?
Most of these wills include a clause stating that neither party can individually amend or revoke the will. As a result, the will cannot be modified after the first spouse passes away.
Traditional wills are always revocable. It, on the other hand, functions as a legally binding contract that cannot be revoked or changed after one spouse’s death. This aspect separates it from other joint will options.
Is it a Good Idea for a Married Couple to Make a Joint Will in Singapore?
Creating a joint will is a personal choice that should be based on your unique circumstances. It can be beneficial in specific cases, such as when a couple is married or in a long-term relationship and wishes to guarantee that their assets are dispersed as per their desires upon death.
However, some disadvantages need consideration:
∙ It can only be revoked by all testators simultaneously, creating difficulties if one party wants to alter the distribution of the assets.
∙ Upon the death of one party, the will for the remaining parties is automatically revoked, which might not be beneficial if the surviving party wants to adhere to the original allocation of assets.
∙ Joint wills apply solely to jointly held assets, necessitating separate wills if parties have distinct assets.
∙ Compared to a single will, a joint will can be more challenging to change.
Considering these aspects may help in exploring other joint will options, including the use of a joint will template for understanding the structure before drafting.
Options rather than a Joint Will in Singapore
For most couples, crafting separate, revocable wills can be an uncomplicated solution for their circumstances. These individual wills often indicate that they can be rescinded at any time, ensuring that both parties maintain their flexibility.
If either party wishes to impose specific conditions on the other in the event one passes away first, there exist better strategies. Achieving such goals without resorting to a rigid joint will is possible. For example, one could ensure that the family wealth is passed on to the children instead of a potential future spouse.
In conclusion, creating a joint will in Singapore is a significant decision that requires thorough consideration, and consulting with legal experts can provide insights into various joint will options. Using a template can also assist in understanding the structure and implications better before crafting this document.