A Will allows you to communicate your wishes and make things easier for the people you leave behind. You need a Will if you would like:
- To have your property distributed according to your wishes after your death (These are your Gifts).
- To specify who should receive your assets after your death (These are your Beneficiaries).
- To specify who should carry out the terms of your Will (This is your Executor).
- To specify who should care for minor children if both parents have passed away (This is the Guardian).
A Trust allows you to distribute your assets to your beneficiaries over a period of time because for whatever reason, your beneficiaries cannot handle large and sudden amounts of money.
Here’s how it works. In the following diagram, (1) the Settlor (the person with the assets) wishes to benefit (2) a group of Beneficiaries such as her young children. She places or settles her assets into a Trust (which is like a piggybank) and the assets are then managed by (3) a Trustee (who is the legal owner of the assets) for the benefit of the children (who are the beneficial owners of the assets). The Trustee follows the instructions in (4) the Trust Deed that tells the Trustee how the Settlor’s money should be managed and distributed, and for how long.
Properly customised, they are neither complicated nor expensive.
Lasting Power of Attorney (LPA)
We live till 85 or more. As a result, the chances are actually very high of our losing mental capacity sometime during our lifetime. In fact after age 85, the risk of Alzheimer’s disease the most common form of dementia reaches nearly 50%. (Alzheimer’s Association).
An LPA allows you to specify who will act on your behalf when you lose mental capacity, with regard to your financial assets and your general welfare.
To register an LPA, you have to be at least 21 years of age and mentally sound.
If you do not register an LPA and you lose your mental capacity, your family member will have to apply to the court to become a deputy in order to make decisions on your behalf and access your assets such as your bank account. This can be an expensive and stressful process.
To learn more about the LPA you can:
- Visit the Office of the Public Guardian website at: publicguardian.gov.sg.
- Read the Sunday Times article “Draw up an LPA before it’s too late” published on 23 October 2016, in which Legasy Planners was interviewed and featured: http://www.straitstimes.com/business/invest/draw-up-an-lpa-before-its-too-late
When a person dies, someone (called the deceased person’s Executor or Administrator) must deal with the deceased person’s money and property (the deceased person’s Estate). They need to pay the estate’s taxes and debts, and distribute the money and property to the people entitled to it.
In simple cases it may take just a few weeks to settle everything after Court approval, or longer if there are assets to sell, or any legal or family issues.
Legasy Planners offers estate administration services through lawyers and estate administrators who are familiar with the services we provide in wills and trusts.
If you own a business and you pass away, you will want to have your shares sold at a good price to your surviving partners, with the proceeds given to your family. Without a plan, your family and your partners will disagree on a price for your shares – your family will want to sell high and your partners will want to buy low.
Andrew, Betty and Charlie are good friends who started a shoe retail shop over 10 years ago. They own 30, 30 and 40% respectively of Bright Shoes Pte Ltd. We can help them set up a buy-sell agreement that defines how their shares would be transferred and the amount of money that would be paid for those shares, when any defined trigger event occurs.