You are a homosexual
Because of Singapore’s strict laws regarding estate planning and other matters, it is hard to have a different sexual orientation in Singapore. If you are in a serious relationship with your partner, then you need to plan very carefully for the future.
In a real-life case study, Julian (not his real name) is a homosexual, and has been in a relationship with Tom for many years. Julian owns the property in his own name, and Tom takes care of house-hold items. Both Julian and Tom own their respective personal assets, like savings, unit trusts, life policies and shares in their own name. Unfortunately, Julian died in an accident, and he left no will. Under the intestacy laws, Julian’s assets, including his property, flowed to his surviving parents whom he was estranged from. Tom was very upset and needed to find another place to live, and he was also very bitter that Julian had left nothing for him.
Estate Planning Implications and Problems
- Singapore does not allow same sex marriages. Therefore, there are no legal rights for you in the intestacy laws if your partner passes away.
- You have no legal right to be the proper claimant to your partner’s life policy proceeds if the policy does not nominate you as beneficiary.
- You do not qualify to be beneficiary of a S49L irrevocable life policy.
- You do not qualify to be next of kin to settle your partner’s bank account.
- You do not qualify to be next of kin to receive your partner’s group insurance (i.e. corporate benefit) proceeds.
- Your standing to apply for administrator of your partner’s estate is lower than your partner’s family members.
- If you co-sign a loan or mortgage with your partner, you are still liable for the outstanding amount.
- If your partner is the supplementary credit card holder, and you are the principal card holder, you are liable for his credit card debt.
Estate Planning Solutions
- You need to have a will written if you want your partner to inherit some of your assets upon your death.
- You need to have a will written if you want your partner to administer your estate. You can name him as the legal personal representative and/or trustee (if applicable) of your estate.
- If you intend to use your life policy to provide for your partner, you need to do a S49M revocable nomination, naming your partner as the beneficiary.
- If it is inconvenient to transfer assets to your partner through your will (for example, in the situation where your family members feel resentful towards your partner and make things difficult during the estate settlement process), you can consider using the assignment of your life policy to provide for your partner in a low profile way.
- Similar to point (d), if the asset in consideration is significant, you can consider setting up a trust to provide for your partner in a low profile way.
- You can consider nominating all or part of your CPF savings to your partner in cash or through the Enhanced Nomination Scheme (ENS). In the ENS scheme, your CPF savings will be transferred to your partner’s CPF account instead of being given in cash.
- Communicate to the stakeholders that you have made an estate plan.