Checklist : Estate Planning

CHECKLIST : ESTATE PLANNING

Estate planning is a necessary process that everyone should go through. It can be easy to put off, but it’s essential to have a plan in place in case something happens to you. Taking the time to plan your estate now can save your loved ones a lot of heartaches and stress later. If you don’t have a Will or if your estate planning documents are outdated, now is the time to take action. Use this checklist to start estate planning or review your current plans.

1.  Will

Make a Will – This is the most important estate planning document because it ensures your wishes are carried out and your loved ones are provided for. Without a Will, the law will distribute your assets, which may not be your wish. Without a Will, your loved ones may have to go to court to resolve disputes over your assets, which is expensive and time-consuming. Therefore, it is vital to take the time to create a Will that accurately reflects your wishes.

People often write their own Wills. Even though you can do it without a lawyer, it is strongly recommended that you work with an experienced one. A lawyer will ensure that your papers are foolproof and protect you and your family from long court probates.

Choosing an executor – An executor is responsible for managing the distribution of assets in an estate. The executor doesn’t have to be a lawyer. Your children, a family member, or a close friend can all take on this role. Once you’ve chosen an executor, you should introduce them to your lawyer, even if they won’t have to work together for years or decades. And remember that you can always change who will carry out your wishes.

Naming your beneficiaries – It is essential to name who will get your assets. It would be best if you designated a beneficiary for every asset you own. This ensures that your assets will be distributed according to your wishes in the event of your death.

 

2.  Lasting Power of Attorney

A Lasting Power of Attorney (LPA) is a legal document that appoints a trusted third party to make decisions on your behalf if you become incapacitated.

When people lose their mental capacity, they can no longer make their own decisions and must rely on others. This situation can be challenging for both the individual and their loved ones.

Without an LPA, your family will have to file a court petition to gain access to and control of your assets and finances. The court application process can be costly and time-consuming, and there is no assurance that the court will grant your family members control.

By executing an LPA, you can ensure that your wishes are carried out swiftly and efficiently if you become incapable.

 

3.  Advance Medical Directive

It’s essential to make sure family members and friends are aware of your medical treatment wishes before a health care crisis takes these decisions out of your hands.

An Advance Medical Directive (AMD), also known as a Living Will, is a legal document you sign when you are still mentally competent. This document expresses your wishes to the medical team treating you, regarding the use of extraordinary life-sustaining treatments when you are terminally ill, mentally incompetent or unconscious. By signing this document, you are giving your medical team the authority to make decisions about your care based on your expressed wishes. This can be a valuable tool in ensuring that your wishes are followed if you cannot communicate them yourself.

Making an AMD is entirely optional, and you can revoke the AMD at any time.

It is essential to understand the difference between an AMD and euthanasia. Euthanasia is the deliberate ending of the life of a person suffering from an incurable and painful disease. An AMD instructs your doctor not to proceed with extraordinary life-sustaining treatment and allows you to die naturally when you become terminally ill and unconscious while minimising suffering through palliative care and medication.

 

4.  Creating A “Need to Know” File

Once you’ve made these critical decisions, it’s important to communicate them ahead of time to those who will be most impacted.

By creating a comprehensive “Need to Know” file, you can make it easy for them to access the information they need to carry out your wishes. Your “Need to Know” should include your wishes for medical care, funeral arrangements, and other vital instructions. It is essential to keep this file up to date, as your wishes may change over time. Making these decisions in advance can help ease the burden on your loved ones during a difficult time. It can also help ensure that your wishes are carried out precisely as you desire.

FINAL TIP: Your estate plan will also need to evolve because your life circumstances are ever-evolving. Your Will and estate plan should be reviewed once every 3 to 5 years or whenever a major life change, like marriage or purchasing a property.

Speak to us over video consultation via Lawyer Anywhere for advice on your Estate Planning matters today!

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Susan Tan

Senior Legal Executive

Qualifications:

With more than 10 years of experience in the financial industry, Susan Tan, who joined us from one of the leading corporate and investment banks in Singapore, provides invaluable expertise and knowledge in corporate secretarial.

She is conversant and familiar with the local regulations and requirements for business entities in Singapore.

As a member of our team, Susan is responsible for maintaining and updating the Company’s statutory registers and records, filing all necessary documents and forms with the Accounting & Corporate Regulatory Authority (ACRA), Ad-hoc assignments such as allotment and transfer of shares, amendment of Company’s Constitution and submission of Annual Return to ACRA.

Apart from corporate secretarial work, Susan has considerable experience and expertise in compliance advisory matters, making her a valuable member of our firm.