Estate Planning in Singapore Dos and Don’ts: Best Practices & Common Pitfalls

Table of Contents


All articles are for education purposes only, and not to be taken as advice to buy/sell. Please do your own due diligence before committing to any trade or investments.


All articles are for education purposes only, and not to be taken as advice to buy/sell. Please do your own due diligence before committing to any trade or investments.

Modern office setup with a view of Singapore's skyline, showcasing organized estate planning documents, a calculator, and a pen, symbolizing the meticulous process of estate planning.

Table of Contents

Introduction – Guide for Singaporeans in Crafting a Will

Navigating the realm of estate planning in Singapore can be overwhelming. Regardless of the size of your estate, it’s vital to engage in this process, appoint trusted individuals, and be aware of regulations like the Intestate Succession Act to secure assets for your heirs.

This article offers a comprehensive guide, highlighting key practices and considerations, including dealing with the public trustee, to ensure you make informed decisions. Ready to safeguard your legacy? Dive in!

Key Takeaways

  • Estate planning in Singapore is important for everyone, regardless of wealth or age, as it ensures that your assets are distributed according to your wishes after you pass away.
  • Key tools for estate planning in Singapore include wills and testamentary trusts, CPF nomination, consideration of how immovable property is held, and life insurance policies.
  • Important dos and don’ts of estate planning in Singapore include taking note of all your assets, being aware of potential family disputes, seeking legal advice when needed, and regularly reviewing and updating your estate plan.

Regularly reviewing and updating your estate plan is crucial to ensure that it reflects any changes in your life circumstances or laws/regulations, helps minimize taxes and expenses, and ensures that your beneficiaries are accurate.

Wooden blocks displaying the words 'ESTATE PLANNING' alongside miniature house models, representing the basic concept of estate planning.

What is Estate Planning?

Estate planning is the process of organizing and making decisions about your assets, including property and finances, to ensure that they are distributed according to your wishes after your death.


Estate planning is about what happens to your money and stuff after you die. You get to say who gets what. This process helps plan for the care of your estate while you’re alive, too.

It’s like a safety net for your income needs in the future. Making sure that all goes where you want it is key in estate planning. So, this step should not be missed when thinking about your financial plans overall.


Estate planning is vital for protecting future income. It allows assets to go to the right people with no trouble. The process lets you control your wealth even after passing away.

This means your loved ones get their share quickly and easily.

It helps avoid fights over money and items. Your wishes will be followed, avoiding any conflict in the family. Estate planning keeps things smooth when handing over assets to others.


Estate planning can keep your assets safe in Singapore. It makes sure that your things go to the people you choose after you pass away. This helps lower fights about who gets what.

It is a legal way to move assets when someone dies or cannot make choices anymore.

Estate planning also shields future income needs and interests. Traders and investors need this for their money’s safety. With an estate plan, they don’t have to worry about their hard-earned cash going into the wrong hands.

Estate planning takes care of loved ones, too, making sure they get support even after one passes away.

Two individuals reviewing and marking documents at a glass conference table, emphasizing the meticulous nature of estate planning in Singapore.

Tools for Estate Planning in Singapore

In Singapore, the process of estate planning encompasses various tools and strategies, such as wills, testamentary trusts, and life insurance policies. It’s crucial to understand the role of probate and be aware of common mistakes to avoid.

A helpful tip is to familiarize yourself with the CPF nomination process and the manner in which immovable property is held. Moreover, the public trustee’s office provides valuable resources and assistance in this domain.

Wills and Testamentary Trusts

Wills and Testamentary Trusts are important tools for estate planning in Singapore. They help individuals identify their assets and choose someone to manage them after they pass away.

Trusts provide an alternative way to distribute your estate, ensuring that your loved ones receive their share according to your wishes. There are different types of trusts available for estate planning in Singapore, allowing you to customize how your assets will be distributed.

Wills and testamentary trusts are considered best practices in estate planning, providing peace of mind for you and your family.

Central Provident Fund (CPF) Nomination

One important tool for estate planning in Singapore is the Central Provident Fund (CPF) nomination. By making a CPF nomination, you can choose who will receive your CPF savings after you pass away.

This is crucial, especially if you want to ensure that the money goes to your dependents or loved ones who rely on it for their livelihood. If you don’t make a CPF nomination, the funds will be distributed according to intestacy laws.

It’s also recommended to make a CPF nomination along with a Lasting Power of Attorney (LPA). By default, CPF funds are given as a one-time cash payout to the beneficiaries.

How fixed property like HDB flat is held

When it comes to estate planning in Singapore, it’s important to consider how immovable property is held. Immovable assets like HDB flats or private properties can present specific challenges.

Proper planning and management of these assets are crucial to ensure they are correctly distributed to your loved ones after your passing. This involves knowing and planning how the property will be managed and transferred to nominees or beneficiaries according to your wishes.

Estate planning for immovable property may include considerations such as estate planning certification and insurance. So, make sure you take these factors into account when creating your estate plan.

Life Insurance Policies

Life insurance policies in Singapore are very important for estate planning. These policies provide financial security to your loved ones after you pass away. They can help cover any debts or mortgage payments that you may have left behind.

Life insurance also replaces the income that your dependents would lose without you and helps them maintain their standard of living. By naming beneficiaries in your policy, the money can be directly transferred to them without going through a lengthy legal process.

This ensures that they receive the money quickly and easily.

Young female professional assisting an elderly man in navigating estate planning strategies on a laptop, emphasizing the importance of guidance in Singaporean estate practices.

Dos and Don’ts of Estate Planning in Singapore

There are essential guidelines and common estate planning practices to follow as per Singapore law. It’s crucial to be aware of these dos and don’ts when navigating the estate planning process.

Document all of your assets

It is essential to keep track of all your assets when planning your estate in Singapore. This includes properties, bank accounts, investments, insurance policies, and any other valuable possessions that you own.

  • List down all your properties and their respective ownership details. Include information about whether they are owned solely or jointly with someone else.
  • Keep a record of all your bank accounts, including savings accounts, fixed deposit accounts, and investment accounts.
  • Make sure to include any stocks, bonds, or other investment holdings that you have.
  • Take note of any insurance policies you hold, such as life insurance or health insurance plans.
  • Don’t forget about valuable possessions like jewelry, artwork, or collectibles.

Be aware of potential family disputes

Improper estate planning in Singapore can lead to potential family disputes. To avoid such conflicts, it is important to be aware of the dos and don’ts of estate planning. By understanding the legal processes and key considerations involved, individuals can safeguard their assets and loved ones with confidence.

This includes identifying all assets, selecting appropriate executors and trustees, seeking legal advice when needed, and regularly reviewing and updating your estate plan. Taking these steps will help ensure that your wishes are followed and minimize the risk of family disputes after your passing.

 Seek advice from a legal professional when needed

It’s crucial to seek legal advice when it comes to estate planning in Singapore. Getting guidance from a lawyer who specializes in this area can help ensure that your estate plan is properly set up and legally sound.

They can also provide valuable insights and strategies to maximize the value of your assets and optimize your earnings. With their expertise, they can help you navigate through complex laws, avoid common pitfalls, and address any specific concerns or needs you may have.

Whether it’s drafting a will, setting up a trust, or understanding inheritance taxes, consulting with a lawyer can give you peace of mind, knowing that your estate plan is well-prepared for the future.

Regularly review and update your estate plan

It’s important to regularly review and update your estate plan. Here are some key reasons why:

  1. Your life circumstances can change: Marriage, divorce, having children, or the death of a loved one can all impact your estate plan. Regularly reviewing your plan ensures that it reflects your current situation.
  2. Laws and regulations may change: Estate planning laws can change over time. Staying informed and updating your plan accordingly helps ensure that it remains legally valid and aligned with any new regulations.
  3. Financial considerations evolve: Your financial situation may change, including changes in assets, debts, or investments. By reviewing your estate plan regularly, you can make adjustments to ensure that your assets are distributed as desired.
  4. Beneficiary designations need to be updated: If you’ve named beneficiaries on insurance policies or retirement accounts, make sure those designations are still accurate and reflect your wishes.
  5. Minimizing taxes and expenses: Regular reviews allow you to assess whether there are opportunities to minimize taxes or fees associated with your estate plan.


In conclusion, using the right estate planning tools is essential in Singapore, no matter your age or the size of your wealth.

By accurately cataloging your assets, anticipating potential family disagreements, seeking pertinent legal advice, and consistently reviewing and updating your estate strategy, you can ensure that your assets will be distributed according to your wishes in the event of your passing. Recognize the significance of the strategic distribution of assets and adhere to these best practices to sidestep typical challenges. 

Embark on your planning journey today to guarantee a safeguarded future for you and your loved ones.

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Bryan Ang

Bryan Ang is a financial expert with a passion for investing and trading. He is an avid reader and researcher who has built an impressive library of books and articles on the subject.

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