Kith & Kin

Can I disinherit someone in my will?

crumpled will on the floor after testator disinherited someone

Photo by Steve Johnson on Unsplash

As the owner of your estate and the creator of your will, you should be able to choose who receives their inheritance from you. However, the law protects the rights of certain individuals, so if you are considering to disinherit someone, make sure that there are no legal provisions that prevent the validity of your wishes.

In Singapore, the Inheritance (Family Provisions) Act safeguards the share of family members from your estate when you die. If you leave them out in your will writing format, your spouse and children can still petition the courts to give them a part your net estate.

Even if you have disinherited them through your will writing, the court can order payment from your estate for the benefit of:

  • a wife or husband;
  • a daughter who has not been married or who is, by reason of some mental or physical disability, incapable of maintaining herself;
  • an infant son; or
  • a son who is, by reason of some mental or physical disability, incapable of maintaining himself

Note that illegitimate children will not be able to apply for maintenance under this act, as evidenced by a Court of Appeals decision in 2009.

It is also important to remember that divorce does not revoke your will, so if you want to leave your ex-spouse out of your will, make sure to express these changes through your will writing.

For the other members of your family, they will not be entitled to claim anything unless stipulated on your will. If you have previously named them as beneficiaries, you can disinherit them by updating your will.

With all these considerations you may find yourself asking whether do you need a lawyer to write a will, or searching online to discover ‘how to write a will’. While it is not necessary to enlist the help of a lawyer, they can provide a valuable will writing format, especially if you have specific wishes to disinherit someone.

Other provisions that leave out certain people from your will:

  1. Setting aside a lump sum rather than a will provision
  2. Arranging a life policy to take effect upon your death
  3. Providing your dependents with adequate support during your lifetime (lifetime gifts that the court can consider as the fulfilment of your obligations)

For these options, it is best to discuss the setup and your reasons with the persons involved, either in person or in writing. The record of this (the letter or note of your meeting) can be attached to your will. It is also recommended to advice your executor of will of such arrangements so they have all the information they need in performing their duties.

How to express your intention to disinherit someone:

If you wish to leave out a specific person from your will, you should explicitly state this in writing, and document your reasons. While there is no specific will writing format required, your reasons must be strong enough to stand in court, as these will be reviewed along with several factors including that person’s financial situation and your relationship with them.

Although there are many resources for a will writing format, we still recommend that you seek professional advice if you wish to disinherit someone from your will.  A wills lawyer will be able to provide you with legal insights on the process of writing a will.

Here at Kith & Kin Law Corporation, we offer expert advice on Will Writing Singapore with the conviction to provide the best approach based on our client’s personal circumstances and needs.

Send us a message so we can assist you with your will writing requirements.