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How to Choose Beneficiary, Executor in My Will?

Updated: Oct 31, 2022

How to decide who to give my inheritance to?

Beneficiaries are people or organizations that will receive your inheritance. Here are some considerations to decide who to include as beneficiaries in your will or estate planning:

  1. Who are dependent on you? They could be your spouse, children, parents, grandparents, pets and others.

  2. Are there some causes or charity that you would like to support?

Should I include my parents, grandparents and others who’s more likely to pass away before me in my will?

You can if you want to make sure they are taken care of. Remember to include instructions on what happens if the intended beneficiaries pass away before you. Some online wills such as CreateWills allow you to give an intended beneficiary's share to another beneficiary or redistribute among the existing beneficiaries should the intended beneficiary pass away before you.

For more specific requests, make sure to speak to a lawyer. You can easily find, compare pricing and book a lawyer immediately on Immortalize marketplace.

What is the best way to divide inheritance?

Generally speaking, after someone passes away, the family will have to go through the probate process to get a grant of probate or grant of letters of administration from the court to officially distribute the deceased assets.

In the absence of the will, the distribution goes by intestacy law, which is a default set of rules to distribute your assets.

(Read more on intestacy law here.)

With a will, distribution will follow what’s stated in your will.

Regardless of whether you are using an online will, lawyer or will writing company, you will need to decide how to distribute to your beneficiaries.

There are generally two ways to distribute.

  1. By percentage - Allocate a percentage of your estate to each beneficiary.

  2. Specific gift + residual gift - Allocate specific assets to beneficiaries and give the residual estate (whatever remains), in percentages, to beneficiaries.

What are the pros and cons of giving inheritance in percentages?

Distributing your property in percentages is usually the easiest and what most people think is the fairest. While being the most convenient, distributing in percentages can have its own problems too.

When distributing in percentages, what usually happens is that beneficiaries will end up co-owning the assets together. For example, when several people inherit a property together, there may be issues. Beneficiaries may have to pay stamp duty to transfer to one another, or dispute may arise when the co-inheritors disagree on how to deal with the property, such as whether to sell the property now or wait till a better time when the valuation is higher.

One way to potentially mitigate the issue is the use of clauses in wills which gives executor powers to sell the property and distribute the proceeds, or distribute as appropriate and compensate the difference.

What are the pros and cons of allocating specific gifts in wills?

Specific gifts come in handy when you want to attain certain goals.

An example would be if you have a child that’s more dependent on your property than others, such as the case of a special needs child. You can allocate the property to the more dependent child and allocate other assets to the remaining beneficiaries, such as a life insurance policy, to ensure fairness.

The downside is that if you distribute specific assets, like a property, to a particular beneficiary, the value may fluctuate and the beneficiary may get more or less than you intended. If you no longer own the asset and forget to update your will, the beneficiary may end up with nothing or less.

Writing a will can be easy but the thought process towards deriving your ideal outcome isn't as straightforward. Regardless of whether you decide to write your own will or seek professional help, you can find the providers, compare their pricing and discover discounts on Immortalize marketplace. It's FREE to use!

Who can be an executor?

An executor is someone whom you appoint in a will to help you carry out your instructions in the will and manage and distribute your estate after you pass away.

Below are some legal requirements on who can be an executor:

  • Not an infant

While the law doesn't explicitly prohibit minors from being executors, there are legal limitations for minors when it comes to dealing with contracts. Selecting someone who is 21 years old and above would make more sense.

  • Has mental capacity

  • Not a bankrupt

The executor will need permission from the High Court if he/she is a bankrupt.

How to choose your executor?

There are two options for choosing an executor:

  • Appoint someone who you know and trust (eg. family member, relative, friend)

  • Hire a professional executor - you can find a list of firms who offer professional executor service here.

Usually, people will appoint one or two executors (normally up to four) with the choice of substitute executors in case the main executors can’t fulfill their duties. If you decide to have more than one main executor, state in your will whether you want the executors to decide on matters individually or jointly, eg., all executors have to agree before matters can proceed.

Your executor can also be your beneficiary but do note that the executor may use the power to benefit himself or herself, to the exclusion of the other beneficiaries. So make sure you appoint someone you trust.

If you have minor beneficiaries, you may want to consider appointing at least 2 executors. If there is only one executor and the executor is not a trust company, the Court may appoint one or more personal representatives for the minor's (eg. person below 21 years of age) best interest.

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Disclaimer: Nothing in this article or site should be construed as providing legal advice or advice of any sort. The information provided are general in nature and may become inaccurate over time. Please consult a professional for advice.

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