On the Ministry of Law’s Wills Registry page under ‘Drawing up a Will’ (which is the 2nd topic listed) is a question:
“Can I make a will on my own without seeking the assistance of a solicitor?”
The Ministry of Law’s answer is:
“Yes, you can make a will on your own without seeking the assistance of a solicitor”.
In order to make a valid Will under Singapore law:
- You must be at least 21 years of age (Section 4 Wills Act (Cap. 352));
- the Will must be 'in writing' (Section 6 (1) Wills Act (Cap. 352));
- The Will must be signed at the end of the Will in the presence of at least two witnesses present at the time you sign your Will and those witnesses must also sign your Will in your presence (Section 6 (2) Wills Act (Cap. 352));
- All the witnesses to your Will must be over 21 years of age;
- You must are not give any part of your estate in your Will to any of your witnesses or their spouses otherwise such a gift will be void by reason of their being a witness to your Will (Section 10 (1) Wills Act (Cap. 352)).
- No form of attestation is necessary for your Will to be valid (Section 6 (2) Wills Act (Cap. 352). This means that there is no requirement for anyone to give any certificate to confirm that your Will is genuine and there is no requirement that your Will must be prepared by or attested to by a lawyer.
- You must have the legal capacity to make a Will. The test the courts apply in deciding if someone has the capacity to make a valid Will is based on the English case of Banks v Goodfellow (1870) LR 5 QB 549, 565.
In Banks v Goodfellow Cockburn CJ said that the person making the Will must:
- understand the nature and effect of a Will
- understand the nature and extent of their property
- comprehend and appreciate the claims to which they ought to give effect
- be suffering from no disorder of the mind or insane delusion that would result in an unwanted disposition.
In other words, a person can only make a valid Will if the person understands the nature and effect of a Will, understands what his or her property or assets are and also knows who would be entitled to a share of the estate. A person suffering from a mental illness may not have the capacity to make a Will.