Frequently Asked Questions

How to write a Will?

A Will must be in writing and must be signed by you before at least two witnesses to be valid in Singapore.

Your witnesses must both be at least 21 years old. Both your witnesses and their spouses cannot be named as beneficiaries in your Will (any gift to a witness will fail).

You will need to make a statement that the written document is intended to be your Will e.g. “I DECLARE this to be my LAST WILL and TESTAMENT”.

You must also state the name or names of the persons you wish to give all your assets (called your estate) to and how you wish to divide your estate between them (giving each a percentage or parts of your estate or specific gifts).

An executor or executors should be named to carry out the task of carrying out your last wishes as stated in your Will.

If you have young children you should name a guardian in case both parents were to die whilst they are still young.

The legal requirements for a valid Will are set out in the Wills Act and can also be found at:

Can I make a Will without a lawyer?

Yes you can make a Will without a lawyer.

Will writing is not a regulated activity under the Legal Profession Act so it can be done by someone who is not a lawyer.

Anyone who is over 21 years old can legally write or make their own Will by themselves or use an online Will making service (such as to make a Will on their own.

Can an executor be a witness to my Will?

Anyone who is over 21 years of age can be a witness to a Will.

An executor is not disqualified from witnessing a Will by reason of being an executor. However, if a beneficiary or the spouse of a beneficiary does witness the signing of the Will then that witness (or his/her spouse) will not inherit any gift or bequest made in the Will to him or her.

So an executor can be your witness only if the person who is named as your executor is not a beneficiary or married to a beneficiary of your Will.

Can a beneficiary be an executor of a Will?

Yes a beneficiary certainly can be an executor of a Will. In fact, it’s the best reason to make a beneficiary your executor. A beneficiary would have the interest and motivation to make sure that probate is applied for and everything is done so that the estate can be distributed to everyone including himself or herself.

However, as an executor must be at least 21 years old you cannot name a beneficiary under 21 as executor.

Other than undischarged bankrupts and persons suffering from mental disability or mental incapacity anyone can be an executor.

An executor does not have to be residing in Singapore so even a foreign relative can be your executor.

Must I prepare a list of all my assets before I can make a Will?


Most people divide all their assets as a whole (their estate) between their beneficiaries. They do this without making a gift of a single item to one person (a specific gift). If you do not plan to make any specific gifts preparing a list of all your assets is a waste of time and completely unnecessary.

As no one knows what their assets will be when they pass away, even if you did have a list of all your assets today that list will be outdated by the time you pass away. Don’t be put off writing a will because you think you need to have draw up a list of assets because you don’t need it.

Please see also:

Do I need to sign my Will before witnesses in Singapore or can I do it in Malaysia as I am living in Malaysia?

Yes if you are a Malaysian living in Malaysia you can make a Will for all your assets in Singapore (but not elsewhere) and have it witnessed outside Singapore.

If you are ordinarily resident in Singapore but overseas temporarily you can still make a Will for your assets anywhere in the world and have it witnessed by at least two adult witnesses overseas.

However, if you are a non-Singaporean ordinarily resident outside Singapore but have assets in Singapore you can still make a Singapore will for your assets in Singapore and have it witnessed by two adults overseas.

I am an expat from UK working in Singapore on an employment pass and have assets overseas. Do I need to make a Will in Singapore?

If you already have an existing Will made overseas Singapore law will recognise a Will validly made overseas.

However, you should consider making a Will for your Singapore assets only. With a Will in different countries it allows an application for a Grant of Probate to start in each country without having to wait for the Grant of Probate in one country before starting in the second country.

If you do not have an existing overseas Will you should making a Will in Singapore as you are in the same position as any Singaporean.

There is greater urgency for you to make a Singapore Will if you are in one of the following situations.

  • not married but in a de facto or domestic relationship; or
  • an married couple with children; or
  • a same sex couple (even if you are legally married overseas).

In all of these cases a partner (including same sex spouse) and children will not inherit anything under Singapore law if you pass away without making a Will in Singapore.

Please see our blog posts:

What is the difference between a Will and a Lasting Power of Attorney?

A Will is the document that is intended to have effect only upon your death. A Will sets out how your estate (all assets, properties and possessions) are to be distributed amongst your beneficiaries and who you are to be your executors. It may also say who are to be guardians of any infant children you may have.

A Will has no effect before your death.

A Lasting Power of Attorney (LPA) is the document you create to appoint person(s) as your donee(s) to manage your Property and Affairs and/or Personal Welfare or both in the event you lose mental capacity and cannot manage on your own.

LPAs only come into effect should you lose mental capacity. Any powers you grant in the LPA ends upon your death.

Can an LPA override a will?

No it cannot. These are two separate documents that work at different times of your life and one cannot affect or override another.

The donees you appoint in your LPA have power to act only if you lose mental capacity but those powers end on the death of the donor.

Although an LPA cannot override a will it’s important to bear in mind that it’s possible for a donee granted Property and Affairs powers in an LPA to do something that may have an impact on your Will.

If you give your HDB flat or all the money in a particular bank account to a particular beneficiary your donee may sell the flat or close the bank account thus causing the gift in your Will to fail. Remember that donees do not know what is in your Will and have no right to ask to see it. So a donee can unintentionally do something that causes an effect on your Will.

What happens to LPA when a donor dies?

When a donor dies the powers granted to the donee ceases immediately upon death.

This is very important to remember because it is a known fact that persons given powers in an LPA (or equivalent) overseas are often tempted to access bank accounts to get money to pay the debts of the donor. Often this is out a sense of concern for the donor. It’s a mistaken belief that unless the donor’s debts are paid immediately something bad would happen.

If you are a donee you really must not access the donor’s bank account any more once the donor dies even though with internet banking it is possible to access the account before the bank knows of the donor’s passing.

Once a person dies his or her creditors cannot do anything until probate is granted. The creditors can’t sue for recovery of the debt. There’s no one to sue until the Grant of Probate so nothing will happen and a donee can stop worrying about this.

If as a donee you access the donor’s bank account (even if it is to pay debts) you would be intermeddling with estate funds and will have to account to the estate for the funds you take.