Providing for children in your Will – to state their names or not?

In making a Will in Singapore or writing a Will there is no legal requirement that you have to state a person’s name in full if it is possible to identify that person some other way.

The practice is to provide NRIC numbers. Doing so leaves no doubts.

However, if a will maker states in a Will that he leaves everything to his wife without stating his wife’s name there can be no doubt who the beneficiary is.

Meaning of ‘child’ 

With children it’s only slightly less clear. The term ‘child’ includes an adopted child but not an illegitimate child or a step child.

If a will just says everything is to be given to “such of my children as shall survive me” there is no doubt who are meant to benefit.

Really it is unnecessary to state the names of your children in your Will for all of them to benefit.

When you may NOT wish to state the children’s names in your Will 

If you have a young family it is actually better NOT to state the names of your children in your Will.

By simply leaving your estate to “such of my children as shall survive me” any other child born after your Will is made falls within the term ‘my children’.

This way a will maker doesn’t have to update his/her Will every time a new baby comes along.

If a will maker names the children but passes away after a new baby but before updating the Will the new born child misses out.

Once the names of the children are stated in the Will the ‘door is closed’. There is no room for any new arrivals to be considered a beneficiary without a new Will being made.

When you should state your children’s names in your Will

If you have step children or illegitimate children and you want to provide for them then you must state their names in your Will. Otherwise only your natural or adopted children can benefit if you leave everything to your ‘children’.

Perhaps you may have a child with greater needs and want to provide more for that child. If so, you need to state the names of your children in your Will and what share you are giving to each.

Doing your Will on EzWills

At Ezwills the default position is to allow for a will maker to provide for the children without stating the names of the children.

We did this deliberately to help our users make a Will that lasts. It avoids the need for you to make a new Will every time a new child is born.

However, you have the option to change this.

In the Provision for Children page is the following question.

“If your spouse passes away before you do you wish:

a    to leave your entire estate to your children (if any) and
b.   if you have more than one child do you wish to leave your entire estate to them equally?

If you wish to state the names of your children in your Will you should answer ‘no’ to this question.

You can then go on to the Residuary Estate distribution page to list the names of your children there and what share each gets.

So on EzWills you can name your children as your residuary beneficiaries. If you do so you will not have the option of providing for any additional beneficiaries should you outlive all your children.

However, if you decide not to name your children as your residuary beneficiaries you will then have the option to name alternative beneficiaries to your children.

It’s really your choice.

10 June 2019

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