Question

Hi, my name is Lex. I’m 20 years old and I’m studying for a business diploma in a local college. 

Recently, my dad passed on. During his funeral, I was greeted by Auntie Lim and her family, consisting of her husband and two daughters namely, Kate and Lynn. Soon, I was told that Auntie Lim is in fact my biological mother. My late dad and Auntie Lim had a bitter divorce when I was still an infant. 

Auntie Lim stated that she possesses my late dad’s written will. In the will, she is entitled to inherit all of my late dad’s estate comprising his business, real estate, cash and the house I’m now living in with my paternal grandma. Auntie Lim had requested grandma to move out from ‘her house’ but will allow me to live in the house as long as I ‘behave myself’. 

Needless to say, there are bitter arguments between grandma and Auntie Lim. 

Grandma reaffirmed to me that I’m the sole beneficiary of my late dad’s estates in full and claimed that the will is no longer valid for it was written 20 years ago and my late dad had no relationship with Auntie Lim after they divorced. Hence, my question is, ‘Is Auntie Lim eligible to inherit my late dad’s estate?’ 


Answer: 

Well Lex, the answer is an unfortunate yes unless you can locate your late dad’s latest will which is written at a date later than the will possessed by Auntie Lim. 

If you can’t, Auntie Lim shall then be able to inherit your late dad’s estate in full as stipulated in the will document. Hence, your grandma could be evicted from your current residence and it is a possibility that you may not inherit 1 sen from your late dad’s estates, if Auntie Lim chooses not to hand it over to you or leave it behind to you via her own written will. 

This means, if you are dependent on your father to pay for your education fees, it is very likely that the pursuit of your business diploma will be disrupted if you fail to raise funds to pay for your tuition fees. 


But Why? 

I thought my late father no longer has anything to do with Auntie Lim. Why and how could Auntie Lim stake her claim on my father’s estate?

Here’s why. 

A divorce will not revoke a will. If an individual writes a will during his marriage, the will is not revoked, after the divorce of the individual and former spouse. To formally revoke the written will, the individual is required to either: 


a. Make a written declaration to revoke the written will. 

b. Write a new will to supersede the former will. 


If I’m Lex’s Father 

and, let’s turn back time to Lex when he was still an infant. 

This means, I’m now a single father to Lex after I had a divorce with Auntie Lim. 

Hence, the question is, ‘How do I avoid the predicament above and continue to provide financially to Lex and my mother?’ 

The answer lies in first, determining how all of my estates are to be distributed and managed in advance, so that my intended beneficiaries would benefit from them if anything happens to me. For instance, let’s say, I intend to:


In this case, I can choose to:


In essence, if I do the above, I would effectively prevent Auntie Lim from stating her claim onto my estates, if I pass on. Also, I will be able to continue to provide for Lex and my mother financially and thus, taking care of their wellbeing. 


Conclusion: 

Having a will written is a good start to having an estate plan for your family.

In the case for Lex’s father, he should have his estate plan reviewed after he has gone through a divorce with Auntie Lim to reflect a change in his marital status, his lifestyle, and his life purposes. 

Hence, it is recommended for us to review our estate plans progressively and in fact immediately, if you have experienced any one of the following: 


a. You are married to your spouse. 

b. You had a divorce with your former spouse. 

c. You have a latest addition to your family member (new baby). 

d. You had lost a family member. 

e. Your children have become married to their respective spouses. 

f. You have a major change in your financial situation. 

g. You are embarking on a business or investment venture with a partner. 


If that is you, you may book a session with us as we will review your estate plan in greater detail together to reflect upon your current wishes for your estate. In this light, you can conveniently book yourself a 30-minute session with our professional estate planners by first filling up the details below:


Jocelline Chee
Jocelline Chee

As a Full-time Senior Professional Estate Planner, Jocelline seeks to understand every client’s unique asset holdings and legacy wishes, before recommending a suitable Will and/or Trust structure to meet their needs. She is well-equipped to point out various blindspots in Legacy Planning, that her clients may have. With Jocelline, you can be assured that your legacy planning journey will feel more like having an open-hearted coffee session with a trusted friend, as compared to a formal and awkward session with an equipped advisor.

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