Where Do I Keep My Will?
Published on 4th February, 2016 by Benjamin Li Yong Le
Unlike in the movies, lawyers in Singapore do not usually keep Wills.
We all have seen movies and TV dramas of lawyers taking out a person's Will from a heavy safe and reading the contents to the beneficiaries.
Unfortuately, this is not the way things usually work in Singapore.
Unless you are a big high-networth client of a law firm, law firms are unlikely to keep your Will for you.
The usual practice is for Testators to keep their Wills in a safe place at home.
In Singapore, even though there is a national Wills Registry, there is no infrastructue in place for physical Wills to be stored and retrieved.
The Wills Registry merely keeps a record of the date, law firm and place where the Will is kept.
However, the physical Will and not even a scanned PDF copy is kept at the Wills Registry.
Some people choose to register their Wills with the Wills Registry as a precaution to avoid litigation. To do so, you will have to login to the Wills Registry website with your SingPass yourself and key in details of the date of the Will, the law firm who prepared it and the location where the Will is kept.
In our honest opinion, registration is not necessary. We always advise our Wills clients to inform their family members and Executors that they have made a Will and where the Will is kept. It is our practice to give our clients two original copies of the Will so that our clients can give one original copy to the Executor with instructions on what to do when they die.
Some entreprenurial estate planning companies market "Wills custody" services whereby clients pay hundred of dollars a year to have their Wills stored in fireproof storage facilities.
I am of the view that this is an unnecessary expense and I personally keep my own Will in my desk drawer.