Do you know what happens when a will is written without the help of a professional?
You can write your own will in Singapore, no rule says otherwise. However, writing a will requires careful planning and strategising. For instance, what comes after writing a will? Or what are the things to consider when writing a will?
Without prior knowledge on the subject, complications may arise. This is why, when preparing a will, it is recommended to seek help from professionals such as Financial Advisers. To find out why it is beneficial for Financial Advisers to master will writing, click here.
Common problems faced when writing own will
People may not know what to do or where to start when it comes to preparing a will, especially when they face more complex issues such as distributing joint properties or CPF money. These are just some of the many common scenarios that happen when a person tries to prepare their will without the help of professionals.
- Distributing assets that are out of their estate, such as joint tenancy properties
Properties under joint tenancy do not form a part of the testator’s estates and cannot be distributed in a will.
- Having not enough witnesses
In Singapore, the law requires two witnesses for a will to be recognised.
- Having beneficiaries as witnesses
The two witnesses mentioned above should not benefit from the will in any way.
To avoid making mistakes such as these, it is best to engage with a professional that can oversee the process and look through every little detail.
How can Financial Advisers advise clients on will writing?
Will writing is a sensitive subject as it circles the topic of life after death. But it’s an important subject nevertheless. Here are some tips on advising clients on will writing for Financial Advisers.
1) Inform the client of the details of the process
The most important thing when advising clients on will writing is to provide them with all the necessary details. This includes the purpose of writing up a will, how long the process will take, how much they have to pay, what is required from them and what they can expect from you. It is important to let the client be in the know so that there are no miscommunication or misunderstandings on both parts.
2) Determine what the client wants to accomplish from the will
The client may not know what they want to accomplish exactly, which is why it is up to you to help them figure it out. Instead of asking generic questions such as “What do you want to do with your will?”, ask “Do you have someone specific you intend to leave your property with?” or “Do you have any beneficiaries with special needs?”.
When you help your client define their goals, only then can you lay the foundation of their wills. When working with couples, on the other hand, it is advisable to have a separate discussion with each person to understand what they really want. When discussing separately, you avoid having one person dominating the conversation.
3) Map out their will by listening to their goals
As you ask them questions about their goals and wishes, remember to take notes. This is because when you have a general idea of what your client wants, you can easily map out their will.
First, start with the client’s goals and objectives. Once that is done, you need to look into the details of the client’s potential taxes, lifestyle issues, executor and guardian to further refine the will. For instance, you need to assist your client in choosing someone that they can trust as an executor, instead of someone that they are the closest to.
4) Be clear with the client on how involved you should be in the process
You need to create an environment where your client feels comfortable coming to you with questions and concerns. Be clear with your client on how involved they want you to be in the whole process and how often you need to communicate with them. You should also establish their preferred method of communication, be it through email, WhatsApp or phone call.
5) Be sure to ask the client for feedback
Last but not least, it’s important to ask your client how they felt about the whole will-writing process. Take note of any comments or suggestions by the client and use this to improve your service in the future.
Although in Singapore, people can write their own will, it’s always better to have a professional view to avoid any complications. As a Financial Adviser, this is where you come in.
For more insightful topics regarding will writing, we have focus workshops about “How to Safeguard your Children’s Welfare”, “Role and Responsibilities of an Executor/Administrator”, “Practical Considerations When Drafting Your Will”, “Understanding the Consequences When There is no Will” and “Case of an Unsound Mind” with regards to Lasting Power of Attorney (LPA) scheduled on the next few months. More details will follow, so stay tuned!
To learn more about will writing and get the ideal probate solutions for you, visit Probate Enterprise.