Contesting a will is not a scenario we would like to see happen in the event of the testator’s death. However, it can still happen due to certain circumstances when the will was drafted. When drafting a will, it is highly recommended to engage a professional will writer to prevent such occurrence. Let’s explore the common grounds for contesting a will in Singapore:
1) The formalities are not complied with
There are a number of formalities, such as the appointment of an executor or the signing of the will in the presence of two or more witnesses, that must be adhered to when signing the will . If such formalities are not complied with, a will may be contested and may ultimately be disregarded by the court in Singapore.
In the event where no executors are appointed, the court may still recognise the will. However, instead of a Grant of Probate, the application for a letter of administration with the will annexed is made, when there is a problem concerning the appointment of the executors in the will. Engaging an experienced will writer can help ensure that all formalities are complied with.
2) The deceased was of unsound mind
Here, ‘unsound mind’ refers to the poor mental capability of the testator. For example, if a testator is diagnosed with dementia, Singapore’s legal system will regard them as having an unsound mind and as such, wills signed by testators with dementia are not recognised as valid wills. With the help of a professional will writer, you can be rest assured that your wishes will honoured, should your will be contested.
3) The deceased was under undue influence
‘Undue influence’ means that the testator is affected by external factors that prevent them from writing a coherent will that may deviate from their true wishes. For example, the testator could be under duress when they sign the will. If a contestant is able to prove so, the contestant can successfully have the will made invalid and the estate of the testator will be distributed in accordance with the intestacy act in Singapore. However, note that this can be difficult as the testator may not be present to validate or invalidate anything presented in the court.
4) The will was made by fraud
For a will to be valid, a testator must be aware that they are signing the will and the will must reflect their wishes at the time the will is being signed. In other words, if the testator signed the will under the impression that the paper they were signing was to apply for a medical card or if the terms of the will were different from what the testator had intended, the will is regarded as made by fraud and is not recognised by the court in Singapore.
5) The deceased fail to provide for his dependents as listed under Singapore’s Inheritance (Family Provision) Act
According to Singapore’s Inheritance (Family Provision) Act, if the will of a testator fails to provide for the testator’s dependents, such as their spouse and/or children, the will may be partially or fully disregarded so that the wellbeing of testator’s dependents is protected. This protection encompasses all legal dependents of the testator which would include all legitimate children as well as legally adopted children pursuant to a court order obtained in Singapore, Malaysia and Brunei.
The above-mentioned scenarios are something which most testators would like to avoid. Consult with any of our financial consultants today to have a peace of mind when it comes to will writing and ensuring that your wishes are delivered the way you want.
Special thanks to Financial Alliance’s Corporate Development Director, MK Chan, for sharing his knowledge and experience to make this article possible.
– Written by Malcolm Mejin, the Financial Alliance Writing Team
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Important: The information and opinions in this article are for general information purposes only. They should not be relied on as professional financial advice. Readers should seek independent financial advice that is customised to their specific financial objectives, situations & needs.