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International wills in Singapore

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Semar
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International wills in Singapore

Postby Semar » Mon, 24 Feb 2014 4:14 pm

How should we go about writing and registering an international will in Singapore ?

Does it have to be according to Singapore law since this is where we reside, or does it have to be according to the laws of our home countries? My wife and I are from different countries.

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Postby Beeroclock » Mon, 24 Feb 2014 11:04 pm

Also interested to hear replies.... I understand it depends on the assets too, eg if you have fixed asset like property then you need a valid legal will in the country where the property is located. Some expats may have very complicated affairs, citizen of country A, reside in B, own property in C, which at the point it may be necessary to fork out the fee and get a lawyer to write it for you.

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Postby Strong Eagle » Tue, 25 Feb 2014 3:22 am

First, you only need a Singapore will if you have assets that would be subject to probate in Singapore, unless you choose to have assets in other countries probated in Singapore (and for this, you would need to check with each country).

You can have your will or wills probated in Singapore or in your home countries. In our case, both American, we elected to have our wills probated in the USA.

Therefore, our Singapore wills are very simple. They say that our net assets after payment to creditors and other expenses will be transferred to the executors of our estates in the USA.

You could write wills that require your assets to be probated with an executor in Singapore. In this case, you would update your other wills to simply note that net assets would be transferred to the trustee in Singapore for distribution under the Singapore will.

Of course, you could have wills with executors in all your countries... just seems more complex with more lawyers fees and probate costs.

We paid a lawyer a relatively insignificant amount of money for wills just to ensure that there would be no issues with form and content.

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Postby Primrose Hill » Tue, 25 Feb 2014 9:56 am

We have been humming and argging over this issue. Hubby and I were born in different countries and we resided in UK for over 25years. Now we are here and we have assets and banking stuff here too whilst we still have assets in UK.
We have met up with a few expat specialist financial advisors and have not been impressed.

For us the only true Brit is our daughter. We will also have to consider all our UK tax liabilities, residency etc issues that will be changing in April. IHT issues too.

So, currently still procrastinating

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Postby Strong Eagle » Tue, 25 Feb 2014 10:38 am

I would add that there are two main tasks for the executor to carry out: Inventory of assets and creditors that must be satisfied, and distribution of assets to named heirs.

For our Singapore wills, we used the same executors we used in the USA and kept them appraised of our situation with respect to assets, credit cards, etc... no other liabilities.

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Postby Beeroclock » Tue, 25 Feb 2014 11:03 am

Primrose Hill wrote:We have been humming and argging over this issue. Hubby and I were born in different countries and we resided in UK for over 25years. Now we are here and we have assets and banking stuff here too whilst we still have assets in UK.
We have met up with a few expat specialist financial advisors and have not been impressed.

For us the only true Brit is our daughter. We will also have to consider all our UK tax liabilities, residency etc issues that will be changing in April. IHT issues too.

So, currently still procrastinating
Yes it's one of those issues that is easy to kick into the long grass. Rather morbid especially when you start thinking through the different scenarios. But important to get it done.

Thank you Strong Eagle for the useful advice!

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Postby Semar » Tue, 25 Feb 2014 11:58 am

Thanks Strong Eagle. Very useful advice.

The more I read about this issue the more I feel we need advice from a lawyer. Our situation encompasses three jurisdiction (France, Malaysia, Singapore) and the added complexity of having to deal with Sharia (though I'd prefer to by-pass it entirely).

The couple of "International Financial Advisors" I talked to were not very helfpul...

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Postby Primrose Hill » Tue, 25 Feb 2014 12:04 pm

Kudos, Strong Eagle for dealing with this and so pro-active at that.
The SG stuff should be easier as there's no IHT etc.
We have always drawn up our own wills, so will continue to do that.
We will revise our UK wills too.
Additionally, we will have to write up tons of instructions.

P/S - complete sidetrack - used to have a friend and she wrote at the bottom of all her knick knacks, most of them are valuable and antique; with those labels - in the event of her death who will inherit everything. So all paintings, chairs, tables etc have labels on them

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Postby Beeroclock » Tue, 25 Feb 2014 12:46 pm

Strong Eagle wrote:First, you only need a Singapore will if you have assets that would be subject to probate in Singapore, unless you choose to have assets in other countries probated in Singapore (and for this, you would need to check with each country).

You can have your will or wills probated in Singapore or in your home countries. In our case, both American, we elected to have our wills probated in the USA.

Therefore, our Singapore wills are very simple. They say that our net assets after payment to creditors and other expenses will be transferred to the executors of our estates in the USA.

You could write wills that require your assets to be probated with an executor in Singapore. In this case, you would update your other wills to simply note that net assets would be transferred to the trustee in Singapore for distribution under the Singapore will.

Of course, you could have wills with executors in all your countries... just seems more complex with more lawyers fees and probate costs.

We paid a lawyer a relatively insignificant amount of money for wills just to ensure that there would be no issues with form and content.
Strong Eagle, I'm curious do the wills cross-reference each other in any way, or each one must clearly state it is applicable for that jurisdiction only.

I have always done my own will, and hadn't conceived of having multiple wills as I was concerned about the risk the existence of the secondary simple will (i.e. the Singapore one in your example) might inadvertently compromise the main will (i.e. the US will in your example) or leave it open to challenge somehow.

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Postby martincymru » Tue, 25 Feb 2014 1:59 pm

Primrose Hill wrote:We have always drawn up our own wills, so will continue to do that.



I wonder if Primrose uses a template?

Off track slightly. I am 57, single, no kids, no assets except money. No will. Is it practical/sensible to simply send same email to the 4 or 5 people I intend to leave money to (define amount) and one witness? The usual advice is, "get a lawyer". Cheap and cheerful I prefer. Advice appreciated.
From UK, live Singapore, EP.

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Postby Beeroclock » Tue, 25 Feb 2014 2:20 pm

martincymru : While practical I don't think it's a substitute for a legal will and there is no guarantee how your money will be split if you take this email approach. If you want cheap and cheerful, you can look into DIY will kits in the UK presumably if that is your home country and where most of your bank account money resides. I have used a DIY willkit from my home country as a template for my own. However I'd also caution you to check out the various warnings on DIY willkits, while they are perfectly effective for simple affairs (like your own) and when used carefully, there are many pitfalls which could inadvertently invalidate the will if mis-used.

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Postby Semar » Tue, 25 Feb 2014 7:56 pm

Does someone have contacts for will drafting / registering in Singapore ?

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Postby PNGMK » Tue, 25 Feb 2014 8:11 pm

All you guys seem to be planning to die with assets. I'm going to die monstrously in debt.

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Postby Primrose Hill » Tue, 25 Feb 2014 8:56 pm

martincymru wrote:
Primrose Hill wrote:We have always drawn up our own wills, so will continue to do that.



I wonder if Primrose uses a template?

Off track slightly. I am 57, single, no kids, no assets except money. No will. Is it practical/sensible to simply send same email to the 4 or 5 people I intend to leave money to (define amount) and one witness? The usual advice is, "get a lawyer". Cheap and cheerful I prefer. Advice appreciated.
From UK, live Singapore, EP.

Martin, amazon uk or whsmith sells will kit. If you have sheds loads of cash, you will need a will. It's better to have a will, at least then your wishes will be followed.

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Postby Strong Eagle » Tue, 25 Feb 2014 11:08 pm

Beeroclock wrote:
Strong Eagle wrote:First, you only need a Singapore will if you have assets that would be subject to probate in Singapore, unless you choose to have assets in other countries probated in Singapore (and for this, you would need to check with each country).

You can have your will or wills probated in Singapore or in your home countries. In our case, both American, we elected to have our wills probated in the USA.

Therefore, our Singapore wills are very simple. They say that our net assets after payment to creditors and other expenses will be transferred to the executors of our estates in the USA.

You could write wills that require your assets to be probated with an executor in Singapore. In this case, you would update your other wills to simply note that net assets would be transferred to the trustee in Singapore for distribution under the Singapore will.

Of course, you could have wills with executors in all your countries... just seems more complex with more lawyers fees and probate costs.

We paid a lawyer a relatively insignificant amount of money for wills just to ensure that there would be no issues with form and content.
Strong Eagle, I'm curious do the wills cross-reference each other in any way, or each one must clearly state it is applicable for that jurisdiction only.

I have always done my own will, and hadn't conceived of having multiple wills as I was concerned about the risk the existence of the secondary simple will (i.e. the Singapore one in your example) might inadvertently compromise the main will (i.e. the US will in your example) or leave it open to challenge somehow.


Beer,

We made zero changes to our USA wills. It wasn't necessary. Our wills have all the complex generational pass through trusts built into them, and any assets in Singapore would have automatically been included as part of the instructions to the US executors of our wills.

Our Singapore wills (I will see if I can find a copy) did reference the USA wills, stating the date and place of the will, and providing instructions that all Singapore funds were to be transferred to the executor of the USA estate for distribution under the US will.


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