#ASK THE EXPERT
If Something Happens To You, What Happens To Your Assets?

Estate planning – everything you need to know.

By Sasha Gonzales      25 March 2021

Q. What is a lasting power of attorney (LPA) and why is it important to have one?

Samuel: This is a legal document that appoints persons (called donees) to make decisions on behalf of the donor (the person doing the LPA).

If you lose your mental capacity, you’ll need someone to make decisions on your behalf with regards to your personal welfare and financial matters. The LPA empowers your donee to protect your interests during your lifetime. Whom you choose as your donee is up to you but it should be someone you trust with your life and monies. In the absence of an LPA, your family would need to get a court order to empower a deputy to make these decisions on your behalf. This could potentially be time-consuming, stressful and expensive, which is why the Office of the Public Guardian has been encouraging Singaporeans to complete our LPAs while waiving the LPA registration fees for us.

Q. How might a family be affected when their main breadwinner passes away without a will or any plan for how their estate will be distributed?

Samuel: This is an unfortunate but very real situation for many families, and it can leave them feeling helpless and confused. Leaving a will provides much-needed clarity on what needs to be done and the probate process may be faster, simpler and cheaper. If you pass away without a will, the rules of intestate succession will determine who should inherit your estate. If you were to go down the list, your estate could potentially be “inherited” by the government (although this is very rare). Not having a will may also result in administrative issues, delays, increased legal costs and even long-term family infighting and resentment.

Have you done your legacy planning? Share your experience with us at magnsman@sph.com.sg!

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