Have you wondered what the most valuable thing you own is? Your laptop? Car? Or perhaps your house? So the big question is, how are these very valuable items in your life going to serve those you leave behind? And yes, that includes your spouse as well because a will ensures that all your assets, no matter how abundant or how modest, are properly distributed according to your wishes after your death. But do you know there are more than a single type of will in Singapore? The most common ones are simple wills when you decide who gets to inherit your assets etc.
However, wills can be slightly different when it comes to married couples. After marriage, couples may want to plan their wills together and plan for their assets together as well. There are 3 types of wills for married couples: Joint Will, Mutual Will, and Mirror Will. These types of wills are typically made by couples to protect each other and young children if one party or both parties pass away. Normally, the wills allow the surviving spouse to inherit the entire estate when their spouse dies. The surviving spouse then has the right to use the property however they choose, but after the survivor passes on, the remaining estate will be distributed to the beneficiaries according to the will.
A joint will is a single instrument made by 2 or more persons, which will serve as their separate wills. On the death of one spouse, the surviving spouse becomes a trustee of all the assets named in the joint will. However, the surviving spouse can only dispose of the will by the deceased spouse’s will instructions. Any changes or destruction of the joint will require all testators’ consent.
Some reasons why people might consider making a joint will are:
- To jointly appoint someone to distribute their assets.
- To consider making a mutual will.
Two people usually make mutual wills according to a separate agreement between them to make the wills and not to revoke them without the consent of the other. Each party would have an independent will allocating the other party on substantially similar terms, dealing with the same property. Parties will also have a binding contract between them, which will typically provide that:
- Each of the parties will leave their property to mutually agreed on beneficiaries;
- Neither party will revoke or make any change to their will without the consent of the other during their joint lifetimes.
- Upon the death of one party, the survivor will not revoke the will or alter it to change the mutually agreed beneficiaries.
Revoking a joint/mirror/mutual will
In case you’d like to revoke the will, it can be done by:
- Writing a new will
- Expressing an intention to revoke the will in writing
- The burning of, tearing off, or otherwise destroying the will by the testator (person who made the will) to cancel it
If you have dependents you love, and whom you want to take care of when you’re gone, a will lets you distribute your assets to them according to your wishes. You can also bequeath your assets to a charity or organisation. For example, if you have young children, a will can appoint a guardian if their parents should pass away.
Are you looking to draft a will with your partner and wondering which would be the best choice for you? It’s important to consult with a professional to ensure that both parties are satisfied with the content of the will.
Learn more about will writing and get the ideal probate solutions for you at Probate Enterprise.