Last Updated on 22, May 2015
Mr. Koh Cheong Heng did a DIY estate plan by transferring his sole ownership of a HDB to one of joint-tenant with his wife on 8 August 2006. Then, he thought that he was going to die and was concerned that his wife will have no place to stay. But later on, his health drastically improved but his wife’s health unexpectedly became much worst than his. In the meantime, he had second thoughts about the transfer as he was worried that his property would end up with his wife’s relatives (because the property will be part of his wife’s estate if he should predeceased her). Thus, he has to apply to the High Court to reverse the transaction.
My comment: As a result of this DIY estate planning, he has to waste so much legal fees and hassle just to undo his mistake. Frankly speaking, all he has to do was to write a properly drafted Will right from the beginning. The Will can always be revoked anytime by the testator as long as there is mental capacity to do so. There is no need to seek consent from anyone for revoking and writing a new Will. The cost of this DIY approach to estate planning is probably enough to write 100 Wills. Why did he not write a Will? I can only speculate that he was ill-advised, not advised at all or perhaps he opted for the cheapest route. I am not sure what was the cost of the transfer from sole to joint-tenancy. Likely there was no stamp duty involved since the transaction involves no monetary exchange between the parties.
(Update 1 January 2015: I found that there is no stamp duty to convert a HDB from sole ownership to joint-tenant as this was exactly what one of my client did recently.)
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