You are a responsible person and you have written a will. But where to store it (or hide it)? You do not want to tell the whole world that you have a will, yet someone has to be able to find it if you pass away.

will-registry-last-will

In Singapore, there is no central storage area for Wills, but you can deposit the information of your Will to the Wills Registry. Such information includes where the Will is held and information regarding the testator.

Although this is not compulsory, the number of deposits had been increasing over the years. According to a press published by the Insolvency and Public Trustee’s Office (IPTO), there were a total of 14,647 deposits in 2013 compared with 10,904 in 2012.

How to deposit your will information? How much does it cost? Who has access to this information? Let me explain…

What is the Wills Registry?

The Wills Registry, maintained by the Public Trustee, is a confidential registry where testators (people making a will) or their solicitors can deposit information on wills. The registry was set up in 2001 by the Ministry of Law to act as a central information centre for all wills that have been drawn up and registered with the Public Trustee, who will keep the information for 120 years from the date of birth of the person who made the will.

What are the fees for depositing or searching for the will information?

It used to be free of charge to deposit a will, but with effect from March 1, 2014, it costs S$50 to lodge one’s will information with the Wills Registry and it will have to be done online. Below is the current fee (including GST):

ItemFees
Depositing Information$50.00
Cost of a Search Application$10.00

How long will your will information be kept in the Wills Registry?

The will information will be kept in the system for 120 years from the date of birth of the person making the will.

What type of information is kept by the Wills Registry?

The Wills Registry keeps the following information under the Wills Registry.

  • Details of the person making the will i.e. testator
  • Date of the will
  • Details of the person who drew up the will
  • Details of where the will is held.

You do not have to deposit your will because The Wills Registry does not keep a copy of the actual will, they also do not accept or keep a photocopy.

Is it compulsory to deposit your will information with the Wills Registry?

No, it is not compulsory to deposit your will information. The validity of your will does not depend on whether you have deposited your will information.

How can you deposit my will information with the Wills Registry?

You will need to access the online deposit form here under eServices. The Wills Registry will no longer accept hardcopy forms for the deposit of will information after 1 Mar 2014.

You must print the receipt and the transaction summary page. Otherwise, you have to pay additional fees to do a Will search to retrieve the information.

If you need to update or amend your existing will record, you will have to deposit a new will record with the Wills Registry. The $50 fee for new will deposit shall still apply. This is because to protect the integrity of the information submitted and avoid disputes, Wills Registry does not allow any amendment to information on wills

You will need to have your SingPass ready. If you do not have one, you may apply for your SingPass at www.singpass.gov.sg.

If you are not eligible for a SingPass, you may apply for a log-in ID and password. You can refer to the guide available at www.mlaw.gov.sg/pto under “Guides and Forms” on how to apply for a log-in ID and password.

Can your lawyer deposit the will information for you?

Your law firm or will drafting company may apply for an organisation account with Wills Registry and they can act on your behalf.

How can you delete your will record from the Wills Registry?

You need to write in to request for deletion of your will record. You may send in your request by email or post to:

Public Trustee’s Office
The URA Centre (East Wing)
45 Maxwell Road
#07-11
Singapore 069118
Attention: Wills Registry
Email: OneMinLaw@mlaw.gov.sg

Please attach a copy of your identity card and indicate your contact number in your correspondence. There are no fees involved for the deletion of your will record.

Who will have access to the will information?

The Wills Registry, maintained by the Public Trustee, is a confidential registry. The information deposited with the Wills Registry is protected. For this reason, information at the Registry will only be released to the following people:

  • The person who made the will (if they give us proof of identity).
  • The solicitor who is helping someone draw up any further will.
  • The solicitor acting for the estate of someone who has died (if they produce the death certificate).
  • The next-of-kin of someone who has died if they produce the death certificate and documents showing their relationship to the person who has died.

How can you carry out a search on will information with the Wills Registry?

You will need to access the online search form at www.mlaw.gov.sg/pto under eServices. You will need the following supporting documents.

For the person making a search on own will record:

  • Your NRIC

For law firms:

  • NRIC of the person who made the will or
  • Death certificate of the person who made the will

For next-of-kin:

  • Death certificate of the person who made the will and
  • NRIC of next-of-kin and
  • Proof of relationship to the person who made the will (for example, marriage certificate (for spouse) and birth certificate (for parents or children))

The search results will be sent to you via email within 3 to 5 working days.

In Singapore, anyone aged 21 and above can write a will, which is validated with the signatures of two witnesses who are not its beneficiaries. One does not need to go to a lawyer to write a will nor deposit his will information to make the document effective.

Although it is also not compulsory for one to register the existence of his will, in order to enforce it, it is of very important that your loved ones are able to locate your Will.

Therefore, I always advise my clients to deposit their will information with the registry. This will be extremely useful

  • When you wish to make a subsequent Will;
  • When your next of kin or beneficiaries need to determine whether you left behind a Will to govern your estate distribution.

Because Wills Registry merely stores basic information of the Will and do not store the Will itself, you may consider Will Custody to ensure your Will is properly stored and not lost or damaged when needed the most.

If you have any question, feel free to leave your comment below.

About the Author

Ivan Guan is the author of the popular book "FIRE Your Retirement". He is an independent financial adviser with more than a decade of knowledge and experience in providing financial advisory services to both individuals and businesses. He specializes in investment planning and portfolio management for early retirement. His blog provides practical financial tips, strategies and resources to help people achieve financial freedom. Follow his Telegram Channel to join the FIRE community.
The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the author. This does not reflect the official position of any agency, organization, employer or company. Refer to full disclaimers here.

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