Someone called me to seek my advice. The caller’s sister committed suicide. I was told her husband “cheated” her and they were undergoing divorce proceeding. She could not take the pressure and killed herself. Her brother called me on what to do because assets are stuck. Apparently she wrote a DIY Will giving all her possessions to her mother but there was no Executor and probably no witness. So it was an invalid Will. I told him the need to agree on an Administrator first. They don’t know what to do and so I suggested using a trust company to be the Administrator. But here is the catch: To appoint an Administrator, all other persons entitled to the estate must renounce their rights to be Administrator. This is the problem – her husband is not divorced yet and hence is entitled to her estate. He will definitely get 50% of the estate and if he does not renounce his rights to be Administrator, nobody get be one. Also the HDB flat is likely under joint-tenancy – so her husband will get everything under survivorship law. It is a wind fall considering likely the decease has a Home Protection Scheme to cover all loans on the HDB. The moral of the story is like this: Financial Planning is COMPUSORY for everyone. Even if a person who wants to commit suicide need to do have knowledge of financial planning such as: (1) Wait for the divorce proceeding to complete so that all matrimonial assets are split. This is particular important for the joint property. (2) Write a valid Will by engaging a professional and appoint the Executor.
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