Picture this. Your 50 million dollar estate goes to the hands of your mortal enemy. It doesn’t feel right. Your loved ones alone must inherit your monies. Your estate mustn’t go to an unintended beneficiary! But get this. The scenario above happens to people around the world. The people you hate, like your unfilial son, might just end up getting the same amount as your filial daughter. Your father, who abandoned you and your mom and ran off with some chick might just end up getting something from your fortune.

Nah, how can that be lah? You might ask. That’s not possible! You even argue but look, if you die without a will, you don’t get to decide what goes to whom, the Law decides for you. We have what is called the Intestate Succession Act (ISA). The Intestate Succession Act determines who inherits from your estate because you didn’t make a will pointing out what to do with your money! Now, an unintended estate beneficiary can get something from your estate if he or she qualifies under the Intestate Succession Act. To fully understand how this “tragedy” occurs take a look at the bulleted details below.

What happens when you die without a will?

If you die without a Will, you are referred to as an Intestate. And the ISA divides your fortune according to the nine rules it has. Take a look at the example below.

Mr. Tan Eng Quee, the estranged father of Ms. Tan Nee Nee, ends up inheriting half of his daughter’s estate after she was brutally killed in the United States. The 65-year-old had not been in contact with his daughter for more than 20 years. After he and his wife divorced, they had lost all communication.

Was he intended to inherit any of from his daughter’s estate? Would she have wanted for her dad to get half of her monies?

The same thing can happen to you if you don’t do estate planning if you don’t start writing a will now. The key to understanding why a beneficiary not intended to inherit is knowing the provisions inside the Intestate Succession Act. The Intestate Succession Act states that:

  • spouse gets everything if you die childless and no living parents
  • spouse gets half if you die leaving behind children
  • half to parents and half to the spouse if you die childless
  • your parents inherit if you’re single and childless
  • your siblings inherit if you’re single, childless and orphaned
  • grandparents get your estate if you’re single, childless, no living parents and siblings
  • if you have no relatives besides aunts and uncles, then they inherit your property
  • the government inherits your estate if you die without any of the abovementioned

Awareness if your Secret Weapon

If you don’t like the idea of an impromptu beneficiary getting your house, your car, your stocks then make sure that you do estate planning. Hire a professional in will making and have him or her do the will writing for you. Writing a will is your greatest defence against an unwanted beneficiary or beneficiaries.

Be mindful of the changes in inheritance

Take for example the inheritance tax has been abolished, in Singapore but it’s still prevalent in other countries. You need to be familiar as well as rules such as illegitimate children can’t inherit. And other regulations concerning inheritance.

Final Thoughts

Beneficiaries not intended to inherit will not get anything if you’re prepared and had your estate planning done. Your unvoiced wishes will remain only wishes unless you put it in writing in a will. So, don’t wait for the inevitable, start writing a will now.