With the financial value that a property holds, you would want that it is properly distributed to your loved ones upon your death. One of the most common ways of transferring property to family members is through will writing.
But unlike cash that can be divided among several named beneficiaries, a property may not be as easily allocated to multiple recipients.
Here are some things to consider in when you are leaving your property to someone:
1. Is the property is under a joint tenancy?
If you are co-owning a property, the distribution of your share upon your death is dependent on whether the property is held under a joint tenancy or tenancy-in-common.
In case the property is under a joint tenancy, the surviving joint tenant will inherit your share of the property. This means that your share cannot be bequeathed through because your co-tenant is entitled to inherit the entire property upon your death.
If you want to be able to transfer your specified share in the property when you die, the asset must be held under a tenancy-in-common scheme.
2. What are the ways of transferring property in a will?
A piece of real estate can be divided among several beneficiaries. A parent, for example, may have the following options when it comes to leaving their property to multiple children:
- Equal division of the property among the children
- Unequal distribution, usually by means of percentage specified for each child
- The entirety of certain properties go to certain children
- Instruction to sell the property and have the profits from distributed equally or unequally among the children
In will writing, it is important to note that there can be issues when several persons become co-owners of a single property. They would have to come up with a joint decision when it comes to possible actions regarding the property. However, if one of the co-owners wishes to sell the property and the others prefer to keep it, then problems could arise.
For complicated cases, a lawyer will be able to provide you with valuable insights on how to distribute your property. While writing a will without a lawyer is perfectly acceptable, there are certain benefits to working with legal guidance.
3. Do you need to execute a family arrangement?
To avoid potential disputes among family members when it comes to the distribution of property (such as in the scenario above), it is best to prepare a Deed of Family Arrangement.
This legal document deals with the disposition of land and is used to amend the terms of the will. In order to redistribute the assets according to the family arrangement, the modifications require the consent of all beneficiaries named in the will.
There may also be instances wherein you would like to disinherit or leave someone out through your will. Provided you have legal grounds to do so, it is important to express this information both in your or any deed arrangement.
4. Is the property held overseas?
In general, you can include transferring property that is located overseas unless there is a specific clause in the will that it should only cover Singapore.
For the will to be effective, it is vital that it is recognised by the courts of the country that the property is located in. If you will be writing a will without a lawyer, it is essential that you are familiar with the overseas laws that have jurisdiction over your property.
Bear in mind also, that your shall have to look for probate lawyers in the countries where your overseas properties are located to reseal the Singapore grant of probate.
Transferring property to family and friends through will writing is a testament that you are looking after the welfare of your loved ones. The points above should be able to guide you on when planning to leave property to your loved ones.
In most cases, it will be helpful to have a professional’s advice. Writing a will without a lawyer could seem overwhelming, and a wills lawyer will be able to provide you with legal insights on the process of will writing.
Here at Kith & Kin Law Corporation, we offer expert advice on with the conviction to provide the best approach based on our client’s personal circumstances and needs.
If you would like our assistance in drafting your will, with us today.