SINGAPORE: More young people are making a will, including those who may not necessarily own property or other assets of high value, according to lawyers who believe that there is less taboo surrounding the subject.
Making a will, which can cost between S$200 and S$1,500 depending on its complexity, is no longer the preserve of the elderly or the rich. Some lawyers said they have been seeing younger people coming in to get wills drafted.
These are people who are usually in their 30s, and they want to get their affairs sorted out for various reasons. For example, they are travelling more, or becoming increasingly aware of family disputes that can arise when no wills are made out.
Rockwills International, which provides will-writing services, said it has seen a steady climb in the number of clients getting their wills drafted, especially over the past two years.
The bulk of its clients range in age from their late 30s, to about 60 years old.
Rockwills International Chief Executive Officer, Lee Chiwi, said: “They are at the age where they have amassed their assets that they have worked for, and feel they need to plan further and decide how these assets should then be passed on.”
These assets do not just include properties owned and money in their bank accounts. “There are people who own valuable collections of paintings and some antiques. Sometimes, they want to will them away to specific people, and sometimes they are so valuable that they want to donate it to institutions like museums,” Mr Lee added.
However, making a will is not as simple as penning down who you want to bequeath your assets to. A will is only valid when certain conditions are met.
Said lawyer Amolat Singh: “I have come across self-made wills where in all respects the will was perfect – the person who passed on had prepared the will, but the two witnesses were missing.
“So, I had to tell the family that the will cannot be classified as a valid will, but the wishes of the deceased may be something you all may want to follow. I have also come across cases where one of the witnesses is also a beneficiary of the will, and then when they come, I have to say in all other aspects the will is valid, but I’m afraid this particular beneficiary can’t take the gift under the will.”
Mr Amolat said he currently sees between 25 and 30 clients a year who want their wills drafted. This is a 50 per cent jump compared to seven years ago, he said.
From January 2014 to September 2015, a total of 8,578 wills were registered with the Wills Registry. Lodging one’s will information with the Wills Registry is not mandatory and doing so will cost S$50.
The Wills Registry is maintained by the Public Trustee’s Office. Information like the details of the person who made and drew up the will, the date it was made, and where it is held, are kept by the Registry.
The Registry does not keep the actual will, but holds information that can help a person and his family locate the will.