If you have kiddos and have yet to write a will, now is the time.
Contrary to what our toddlers may think, mama and dada are not invincible super humans, and although we don’t like to think about the prospect of something terrible happening to ourselves or our partners, think about it we should.
If you have children, it is imperative that you have a will in place to protect both your assets and your offspring in the event that you meet your untimely demise much sooner than you anticipated.
Here are three extremely good reasons why you need to write your will today.
Three Reasons Why Every Parent Should Write a Will
1) You need to let people know who should have custody of your kids
Not many people realise this, but if you die interstate (without a will) in Singapore, your children may actually get taken into foster care. What?!
I personally cannot think of anything worse than my little girl, suddenly without her mama and dada, being hauled off by strangers to a place she doesn’t know. You need to ensure that you protect your littlies from this trauma by outlining your wishes about who should take parental custody of them should the worst happen. Here’s how:
- Ensure your will contains full details of who should become the legal guardian of your children in the unfortunate event both parents pass away. Make sure your will contains full details of who this person is and how he or she can be contacted (you may want to run it by them first).
- If the person who you assign as legal guardian does not live in Singapore, you will also need to specify who you wish to perform the duty of temporary guardian until the appointed guardian can make it into the country to collect your child(ren). Provide him or her and your lawyer with a copy of your will and a letter that outlines your wishes. If you do not appoint a temporary guardian, your children may go into the care of the Singaporean authorities until the legally appointed guardian can collect him or her.
Some words of caution:
- Make sure you revisit your will and letter of temporary guardianship on a regular basis. Singapore is a very transient place and people come and go frequently.
- Do not specify a helper as a guardian. She may be unable to remain in Singapore in the event that both her employers have passed away.
2) You need to inform people how you want your assets to be distributed and by whom
While we all may like to think our families would have the ability to calmly distribute our assets between themselves in a just and proper manner in the event we met our maker a little earlier than expected, its probably not advisable to leave this to chance. In Singapore, a lot of things can get very complicated, very quickly if there is no will in place.
If you do not choose someone to wrap up your estate on your behalf, the state will do it for you, and this leaves a great deal to chance. Especially if there are children involved.
One of the added complications in Singapore is religion. If the deceased is a Muslim, assets may be distributed according to Section 112 of the Administration of Muslim Law Act (Cap. 3), which will favour some members of the family over others and may leave the family members who need your estate the most without anything at all. If this is something you are concerned about, engage the services of a professional practitioner who is familiar with Islamic estate planning matters.
3) It can cut the tax
Through proper planning and the involvement of a tax specialist, you can ensure that you minimise the tax bill that your loved ones will face after your death. If you invest in solid advice now, you can make sure that your hard-earned assets go to your children, not into the pockets of the government. You may also wish to consider establishing a trust for your little ones. This will make sure the money stays out of reach of irresponsible teenagers who have not yet developed the maturity to manage their assets. Setting up a trust can be quite complicated, so make sure you consult someone in the know.
Sadly, life doesn’t always go according to plan; don’t leave anything to chance when it comes to your little ones. Do everything in your power to make sure the people you love are fully protected and looked after in the event something goes badly wrong by writing a full and comprehensive will.
Singapore Baby is jam packed full of useful resources, articles and ideas for Singapore’s mamas and dadas. Whether you’re seeking inspiration, recommendations, practical information or just good ol’ escapism from toddler tantrums, we’ve got what you’re looking for right here.
Get news on our latest updates straight into your inbox by joining the Singapore Baby family now.