|We hope our webinar on the topic of estate planning and distribution held last weekend provided both insightful and beneficial information to you.
Our guest speaker, Jayden Chen shared his view and expertise on estate disputes and how you should handle it.
Here are the key takeaways:
1. What are the common grounds for contesting a Will?
If the Will is not written in compliance with the legal requirements, such as not having two witnesses.
Lack of mental capacity
Testator did not fully understand the information in the Will and the implications of it; it could be due to illness, effects of medication, memory-loss, and illiteracy.
Acting under undue influence
An individual created the Will as a result of being pressured or manipulated into making certain decisions. The influencer could be the nurse, caretaker, a close friend, a family member, or even the Will writer.
Forgery / Fraud
If there are reasons to believe that the Will was forged or fraudulently written.
2. Who has standing to contest a Will and how long is a Will open to contest?
• Beneficiaries and any person who might have sufficient legal standing can challenge a Will. This typically includes spouse, children, and parents.
• Generally, the timeline for a person to contest a Will is 12 years from testator’s death.
3. Since a Will can be contested, why do we still need it?
Will is one of the important tools in estate planning and it is highly recommended to have one in place:
• Disputes may happen regardless of whether a Will is in place or not.
• Having a Will allows you to state the distribution of wealth according to your wishes and the appointment of executor(s) of your choice instead of relying on the Distribution Act 1958
• While a Will can be contested, there must be valid reasons and genuine grounds to do so.
4. What can we do to manage potential disputes over our inheritance?
• Diversify your estate planning using other tools besides a Will. For example, EPF and insurance are instruments with legally protected nomination and can be effective in distributing important cash. Since EPF and insurance monies do not form part of the deceased’s estate, it can be distributed quickly to the intended beneficiary and provide immediate support during trying times.
• Provide an equal share of your estate to each beneficiary. While some assets (e.g. property, business) can be difficult to be distributed equally, consider using insurance with its multiplier effect for estate equalisation.
You can watch the webinar playback below.
You can watch the webinar playback below and discover the written responses from the speaker for popular questions posted during the event HERE.