Importance of a Will if you intend to file for divorce/ annulment
Under the law, all of a married person’s assets will be inherited by his/ her spouse if he/ she passes away:
1. Without a Will; and
2. Without a surviving parent and child.
On the other hand, should the deceased be survived by his/ her spouse and parent(s), his/ her spouse will inherit 50% of his/ her assets, leaving the other 50% to his/ her parent(s).
If the deceased is survived by his/ her spouse, children and parent(s), his/ her spouse will inherit 50% of his/ her assets, leaving the other 50% to his/ her children. The deceased’s parents will not receive any share of his/ her assets.
If you intend to file for divorce/ annulment and you do not wish for your spouse to receive the bulk of your assets, you may wish to instruct a lawyer to draw up a Will for you. This will allow you to specify who will receive your assets, and in what proportions, upon your demise.
It is important to note that a Will made before your marriage will be revoked
You will not be able to give away the following assets by way of a Will:
1. Any property under joint tenancy. You would have to sever the joint tenancy before you are able to make provision for your share of the property in your Will.
2. Funds in bank accounts which are under joint names.
3. Proceeds from your insurance policies. You can nominate the beneficiaries for your insurance policies.
4. CPF proceeds. You can to make a CPF nomination to specify the nominee who will receive your CPF savings, and how much each nominee should receive upon your demise.
Pre-nuptial agreement, post-nuptial agreement (marital agreement) and deed of separation
Before the Court decides on the division of matrimonial assets, it is the Court’s duty to consider all the circumstances of the case, including any agreement between the parties with respect to the ownership and division of the matrimonial assets made in contemplation of divorce.
A pre-nuptial agreement (which parties enter into before the marriage), a post-nuptial agreement (which parties enter into during the marriage) and a deed of separation (which parties enter into when they are leading separate lives or are contemplating to) are mechanisms which you can use to formalize your agreement with your spouse on the ownership and division of matrimonial assets should the marriage be dissolved or annulled.
Your divorce/ family lawyer can assist by:
1. Advising you on the implications of divorce/ annulment/ separation on your assets and how your financial interests can be safeguarded.
2. Drafting your Will.
3. Drafting your (1) pre-nuptial agreement, (2) post-nuptial agreement (marital agreement) or (3) deed of separation to stipulate the ownership and division of matrimonial assets should the marriage be annulled or if parties separate/ divorce.
You may also be interested to read more about:
2. Annulment (Nullity) of Marriage
5. Maintenance Issues (Alimony)