Help the needy to make a will?


What information should be given to the needy when they are encouraged to make a will?

I refer to the article “North East CDC males it easier  for needy to make will, apply for LPA” (Straits Times, Oct 22).

It states that “The North East CDC will further subsidise low-income residents who earn a monthly income of less than $1,100.

For those earning $650 or less, preparing a will and the LPA will be free. Those earning above $650 up to $800 will have to pay $40 for a will and $25 for an LPA, while those earning above $800 up to $1,100 will have to pay $56 and $35 respectively.”

As to “Mayor of North East District Desmond Choo, who officiated the launch of the Life Centre @ North East yesterday, said: “Many residents put off making LPAs and wills. They are worried about the complexity and costs. Yet, in our ageing society, such legal instruments are more essential than ever.”” – since we are talking about legal costs – according to the Official Assignee’s web site – “The Public Trustee administers the estates of deceased persons, where the value of the estate does not exceed $50,000”.

I understand that persons who die with a will may have to pay at least more than $3,000 in legal fees and costs for probate.

In contrast, a person who dies intestate (without a will) with assets less than $50,000 can be administered by the Public Trustee for just a few hundred dollars.

So, is this made known to the needy who are now being encouraged to make a will at low cost?

With regard to “One of the residents who signed up to prepare both a will and an LPA is Mr Lim Aik Hwa.

The 54-year-old works in the food and beverage sector and earns $1,200 a month.

He told The Straits Times that he made the decision because he wants to ensure his assets go to his two daughters if anything happens to him. Said Mr Lim: “You do not know when you might fall ill or meet with an accident. Life is unpredictable, and no one knows what tomorrow will bring.””- if he has less than $50,000 assets and his daughters are also the beneficiaries under intestacy – should he make a will and end up paying $3,000 more in probate costs when he dies?

Leong Sze Hian


About the Author

Leong Sze Hian has served as the president of 4 professional bodies, honorary consul of 2 countries, an alumnus of Harvard University, authored 4 books, quoted over 1500 times in the media , has been a radio talkshow host, a newspaper daily columnist, Wharton Fellow, SEACeM Fellow, columnist for theonlinecitizen and Malaysiakini, executive producer of Ilo Ilo (40 international awards), Hotel Mumbai (associate producer), invited to speak more than 200 times in about 40 countries, CIFA advisory board member, founding advisor to the Financial Planning Associations of 2 countries. He has 3 Masters, 2 Bachelors degrees and 13 professional  qualifications.