We often think having a will is like watching that indie film from the 90s or 2000s we always said we would see — someone told us it’s significant, but deep down, we don’t really consider it relevant to us. But the necessity of making a will is not limited to people with large fortunes like Queen Elizabeth II.
It is time to let films from these two decades tell us why everyday men and women, like you and I, need a will. We ask in advance for your patience, as some of the analogies we make will be a bit of a stretch.
While You Were Sleeping (1995):
If you don’t have a will, people you barely know can suddenly become closely linked to you.
Peter Gallagher didn’t exactly die — he fell into a coma — and we empathise with Sandra Bullock going along with his family’s misunderstanding that she was his fiancee.
It remains that if you don’t have a will, people who hardly interacted with you while you were alive could end up getting a significant chunk of your estate after your death. You would have been considered to have died intestate; all you own will end up being distributed according to Singapore’s Intestate Succession Act.
A quick illustration of how things could go very wrong: If you are single, have survived your parents and have no children, siblings or grandparents, all you own could end up with aunts or uncles you have barely met.
Clueless (1995) & The Emperor’s New Groove (2000):
Without a will, you can’t control when your children get large sums of money. They could get it when they don’t know how to manage it.
Cher and Kuzco grow into maturity in both movies. But your children might not have the privilege of a Josh Lucas, or a llama-transformation experience, for them to have the growth and humility they need to manage their money well.
The Intestate Succession Act does not discriminate based on financial maturity. Once your children reach 21 years of age, they could receive half or more of your estate. They could even get you and your spouse’s entire estate if the unthinkable happens to both of you.
It’s a lot of responsibility to put on your kids’ shoulders, at an age when they may lack the financial maturity or discipline to manage money. We haven’t even started to discuss the need to guard against others with agendas.
Lilo & Stitch (2003):
In the absence of a will, minor children might be left without a trustworthy adult figure to guide them through childhood. If that happens, your kids will be forced to become adults too soon.
Stitch definitely stole the show. So it comes as no surprise if many of us do not remember that Nani was struggling to keep Lilo from being sent to foster care after their parents’ death.
A will allows you and your spouse to appoint a legal guardian for your children. By selecting carefully, you ensure your children have a trustworthy adult figure who will assume responsibility for their care until they reach 21 years of age.
The older siblings will not have to take on the role of the parent figure like Nani did — something they should not have to do as children themselves.
Your mates who have become like family don’t have a way to inherit your estate if you die without a will.
There is no doubt that Carl and Russell’s friendship grows stronger even after the film ends. Following Carl’s death, it is likely he would have wanted Russell to inherit his assets and possessions.
In Carl’s case, without a will (and if we assume accurately from the movie, no surviving family members like siblings, aunts or uncles), his entire estate goes to the government. Russell will only have the grape soda bottle cap to remember Carl by.
Sense & Sensibility (1994):
A verbal promise is not legally binding. Your beneficiaries are ensured by a will.
We felt empathy for Elinor and Marianne when we learned their brother reneged on his verbal promise to care for them financially. Promises can be easily broken, but a will helps seal the deal.
In the absence of a will, your assets could be divided against your wishes. This could lead to an unfair distribution of wealth. Loved ones who really need a larger chunk of your estate don’t get it, and those who don’t quite need the funds end up getting more.
Have we (or the movie references) convinced you that it is too risky not to have a will? Don’t let those who matter most to you bear the brunt.
Speak to our consultants today to discuss your concerns. Or, drop us a line at: https://www.summitplanners.com/contacts.
This article and the pages it links to are not substitutes for professional advice. For specific advice tailored to your individual situation, please contact the team at Summit Planners.