will can be any statement and be in any format, but must also conform to certain requirements as mandated by the Wills Act, and these legal requirements are:The Will must be executed as follows:
• It must be
▪ that the will be signed at the foot or the end of the Willthereof by the tTestator in the presence of two or more witnesses who shall then, in the presence of each other, sign the Will as witnesses.
▪ The testator may sign the Will using his usual signature or if he cannot write, he can “mark” the Will with, for example, a cross or his thumb print.
▪ If the testator is not able to sign the Will (because he is too ill, for example), the Will may be signed by some other person under the testator’s direction and in the presence of the testator as well as two or more witnesses who in turn, shall, in the presence of each other, sign the Will as witnesses.
▪ Two or more persons may witness the signing of the Will by the testator, but, they must be present at the same time and must sign the Will as witnesses after the testator has signed or acknowledged his signature.
▪ Witnesses must be disinterested parties. The beneficiaries named in the Will and their spouses cannot be witnesses to the Will.
▪ The witnesses must see the signing of the Will by the testator or the person signing under the testator’s direction. The witnesses must then see each other sign the Will. The witness’ role is to witness the signing of the Will by the testator or the person signing under the testator’s direction. The witness need not know the contents of the Will to which he is a witness.
|Attestation clause: |
|a clause that appears|
|at the end of the |
|Will which witnesses |
|must sign confirming |
|what they can |
|“attest” to, i.e. |
|what they can be |
|witness of. |
▪ If the Will is not prepared in a language that the testator is able to read and understand, the Will must be explained to the testator before the testator signs the Will. The person who explains the Will to the testator must also, in the presence of two witnesses or more, sign an attestation clause confirming that the Will has been read to the testator in a language he understands and that the testator appears to understand thoroughly the contents of the Will.
A Will may be amended before the testator signs it so long as the testator signs or initials against these amendments.
2.TYPES OF WILLS
1.1 What is a will?
Wills may be classified according to the way they have been executed (e.g. oral Wills) or the content of the Will (e.g. simple Wills). The classifications are for convenience. They do not suggest that one class of Will is more valid than the other. Each Will must be examined on its own to determine its effect and validity.
We examine some types of Wills that are referred to more frequently than others: There are a few types and variations of wills according to the purpose that they serve and the terms and conditions that they contain. We will introduce three types of wills that are seen in common law jurisdictions like Singapore:
1. A Conditional Will
2. A Joint Will
3. A Mutual Will
From time to time, professional estate planners encounter clients who want to make a “simple” Will. In the minds of these clients, a simple Will is probably one that contains basic provisions dealing with the distribution of property outright to the beneficiaries. There are no complicated instructions regarding disposal of the property or investment of proceeds from the sale of the property or provisions relating to guardianship or trusts.
From an estate planning perspective, it is irrelevant if a Will is simple or complicated....