The most common misconception that people have in life is that drafting a will should only be done when your age catches up. But the truth is, it should be done way earlier.
According to Alvin T’ng, founder of WillCraft – the first online will drafting platform in Singapore – a will should be drafted at every stage of life such as marriage, kids, purchase of real estate and large investments.
Speaking to TOC, Mr T’ng stated that many people believe that they are “too young” for a will, but in reality, it actually prepares the family for a sudden event.
“Thinking this way assumes that youth will protect you against the risk of death – quite untrue, as you may agree,” he said.
Thankfully, Mr T’ng pointed out that he sees a growing trend of people in their mid to late thirties and forties starting to draft will in Singapore. This is because of higher financial literacy and tech savvy in the younger generation, he said.
As such, Mr T’ng took the bold step to leave behind his flourishing career as a lawyer to self-fund and launch WillCraft in August last year. He did so as he believed that it would be useful for the average Singaporean, given the expensive legal costs.
In Singapore, hiring a professional will writer or lawyer to help you draft your will could cost at least S$300 to S$500. In some cases, the cost could reach up to S$1,000.
Ever since their launch, the company has received over 7000 website users thus far as it is deemed as the first online will drafting platform of its kind in the Republic that aims to make will-drafting as affordable, easy and accessible to Singaporean.
Speaking of affordability, the company offers money-worth packages without cutting corners on quality. The packages start at S$49, offering massive savings in terms of legal advice or other online services.
If that’s not all, WillCraft also stands out among its competitors as it allows clients to have lawyers review and witness their wills at a flat free of S$79 – a feature that’s not offered elsewhere and this provides a completely customised experience to their customers.
In addition, the platform’s interface is also significantly more advanced, and is able to handle more then just ‘simple’ wills. It is able to take care of more than 10 million will permutations, apart from being intuitive and user-friendly.
It’s also specifically engineered to handle most estate planning concerns for regular Singaporeans – everything from guardianship and last rites, to the distribution of more unconventional asset classes like directly held company ordinary shares and investment accounts.
Just in this month, the Singapore-based tech startup has also partnered with Maybank to offer its Privilege customers discounts on will drafting services.
Starting 3 November, the bank’s Privilege customers can enjoy S$20 off WillCraft services, and the company will also be extending its services to Maybank Premier customers by offering 20% off to them in 2020.
Importance of drafting wills
When it comes to drafting wills, Mr T’ng said that most people think that they don’t have enough assets.
“With the cost of living and bring up kids in Singapore, I can imagine that most people may feel like that. But the will covers your house (or HDB) and where no nominations are made, your insurance proceeds. This usually amounts to a good sum, most people are insured at around $200,000. With that house, that may come up to a cool $1 million!” he explained.
He added, “They (public) think that the cost of a will is unjustified. This may have been true before considering how expensive lawyers are, but it’s not like that anymore – with WillCraft!”
Many also have the mind-set that they are too young to draft a will, but without realising that a will prepares a family in case of any sudden event.
Lastly, people naively think that most of their assets will go to their next of kind and the Government will help to sort this. The problem here is that there’s no control over which next of kin gets it as it goes according to the rules in the Intestate Succession Act.
According to the Act, the people who are entitled to receive a proposition your assets are based on priority. These are – first the surviving spouse and children of the deceased, followed by the surviving parents, surviving siblings, surviving grandparents, and lastly, surviving aunts and uncles.
“The government won’t sort it out, per se. you’ll still have to apply to the court for probate whether or not you have a will. The cost of probate, which is the process one’s executor/administrator has to go through regardless of whether or not you have a will is more expensive if one does not have a will (upwards of $500 according to today’s market),” Mr T’ng said.
Additionally, the time for probate to finish is also much longer for those who don’t have a will. Some up to 6 months longer, the founder of WillCraft stated.
A will is not solely about assets as well, especially if you have minor children. This is because it’s crucial that you appoint a testamentary guardian – a person that should take care of your children in case anything unwanted happens to you and your partner, Mr T’ng noted.
If you fail to assign testamentary guardian, then your child may be placed in the legal custody of the state until a suitable guardian is allocated. This also mean that your child has to go through a stint in a foster home right after losing his or her parents.
Unique features of WillCraft
Although there are a number of online will drafting companies that do it for free in Singapore, but WillCraft offers other unique features that make them stand out in the mix.
“They do not offer lawyer reviews, and its draft at your own risk. Instead, WillCraft offers lawyer review at a flat rate, and we do not share or receive any kickback from the lawyers. The usual service offers lower prices by removing the lawyers at the risk of the client. WillCraft does not do so, and allow the client to choose lawyer reviews should he/she want to do so,” Mr T’ng stated.
He also highlighted that other platforms offer “limited scope as to specific assets”, whereas his company allows their customers to make wishes in their will for specific asset classes such as real estate, bank accounts, proceeds from Insurance Policies, investment accounts as well as ordinary shares.
Thirdly, Mr T’ng explained, “WillCraft allows for multiple substitute beneficiaries (i.e. you can say, I’ll give my house to A, but if A passes away before me, I’d like it to go to B). We allow percentages of those as well so quite possibly unlimited options there”.
He added that the platform does also automated checks to ensure validity.
“One important point for wills is that beneficiaries cannot be witnesses. If they are, then the gifts to the beneficiaries are considered void. This is quite dangerous, as you can imagine,” he stressed.
He continued by pointing out that the company “checks based on the identification information provided if they are the same person, and where they are warns the user about this”.
(This is not a paid advertorial)