Just Got Married

Just Got Married

 

If you have just married, it is important that you make estate planning your priority. Marriage refers to the registration of a man & woman to be husband & wife under the Women Charter Act. A traditional marriage ceremony without the official registration of marriage is not considered a marriage by law.

 

Estate Planning Implications

  1. Your earlier Will will be revoked by your marriage.
  2. Your earlier CPF nomination will be revoked by your marriage.
  3. Your spouse will be accorded special position in the following laws:
    • Intestate Succession Act: If you die without a will, your spouse will be entitled to at least 50% of your estate.
    • Inheritance (Family Provision) Act: If you totally exclude your spouse in your will, your spouse can apply section 3 of the Act to get something out of your estate.
    • Insurance Act: Your spouse can be the proper claimant to receive your life insurance proceeds; AND your spouse can be the beneficiary of a statutory trust policy under Section 49L of the insurance act.
    • Probate & Administration Act: Your spouse will be given priority to be the administrator of your estate if you die without a will.
    • Civil Law Act: If both of you die together, the older spouse will be considered to have died first.
    • Land Title Act: Chances are you will be holding your matrimonial property in joint tenancy with each other.

 

Potential Problems

  1. Your elderly parents will be in a disadvantaged position if you die prematurely, and in some situations they could be completely excluded from your estate. This can happen if you leave behind a surviving spouse and children. Your surviving spouse will receive 50% of your estate, and your children will receive the other 50%.
  2. There may be confusion on who is entitled to the life insurance proceeds, because both your elderly parents & your spouse have equal legal rights to be proper claimants to your policy proceeds.
  3. You may exhaust most of your current assets in acquiring your matrimonial home, and hold it in joint tenancy with your spouse. If you die pre-maturely, the property will go directly to the surviving spouse, and nothing will be left to your elderly parents.
  4. If both you and your spouse die together, and assuming you are older than your spouse, most of your estate will flow to your younger spouse, and then will be combined with her estate, which will then flow down to his/her extended family. This might be seen as unfair by your extended family.

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