ESTATE PLANNINGEstate Planning for LGBT Community

Singapore may be ahead of her peers in areas such as education and healthcare, but one area we trail behind in is the recognition of same-sex marriages. The Singapore law dictates that a “marriage is a union between a man and a woman”, and LGBT couples do not have ownership over children. LGBT couples evidently face greater legal obstacles compared to heterosexual couples, making it all the more essential for them to have a valid estate plan.

 

The Singapore Intestate Succession Act layouts how one’s assets will be distributed should one die intestate (without a will). For a heterosexual couple, it will be distributed to their spouse, children and/or parents, dependent on the family structure. However, for LGBT couples, their spouse will not receive any inheritance due to the marriage not being recognised, regardless of how long or close the relationship was.

Furthermore, under Singapore’s laws, there are also many difficulties in establishing a legal parent-child relationship for LGBT couples. In Singapore, a child is only ‘legitimate’ if they are born to a married, heterosexual couple or adopted. Therefore, children born to LGBT couples are deemed ‘illegitimate’. Again, what this spells out for children of LGBT couples is that they are not eligible to inherit any of his/her parent’s assets in accordance to the Intestate Succession Act.

There is no denying that the current laws in Singapore do not favor LGBT couples, but there is no need to feel helpless. There are ways to work around these challenges, and one way is through estate planning. Documents such as wills and LPAs go a long way in helping LGBT couples have the peace of mind against unexpected situations.

 

Wills

For LGBT families, drafting a will is the only legal solution to choose who they want their estate inherited by. This is especially crucial if one partner is financially dependent on the other. As mentioned above, without a will, the estate will pass through intestate laws, to legal spouses and blood relatives, no matter how distant.

For instance, if one has cut off family ties due to disagreements over the relationship and have not had close contact for many years, in the event that he/she passes away unexpectedly without a will, all assets will go to the family, which may not be in accordance to his/her wishes.

For LGBT couples with children, some have children by legally adopting them as single parents. In the event that the legal parent passes away, this leaves the child orphaned. Without a will, the child will find their fates dictated by authorities, causing them much undue stress and unnecessary paperwork. A will is thus useful in appointing someone trustworthy to have legal guardianship over the adopted children, be it relatives or a close family friend.

 

LPAs

For LGBT families, drafting a will is the only legal solution to choose who they want their estate inherited by. This is especially crucial if one partner is financially dependent on the other. As mentioned above, without a will, the estate will pass through intestate laws, to legal spouses and blood relatives, no matter how distant.

For instance, if one has cut off family ties due to disagreements over the relationship and have not had close contact for many years, in the event that he/she passes away unexpectedly without a will, all assets will go to the family, which may not be in accordance to his/her wishes.

For LGBT couples with children, some have children by legally adopting them as single parents. In the event that the legal parent passes away, this leaves the child orphaned. Without a will, the child will find their fates dictated by authorities, causing them much undue stress and unnecessary paperwork. A will is thus useful in appointing someone trustworthy to have legal guardianship over the adopted children, be it relatives or a close family friend.

 

About PFPFA

PFPFA is a licensed financial adviser specialising in a wide range of financial solutions for individual and organisational clients alike. Our solutions cover investment services, insurance solutions, estate and business succession planning and many more. 

The ethos of our company is to build lasting relationships with individuals, families and businesses across Asia and generations, so as to deliver the finest solutions to suit our clients’ ever-evolving needs.

We endeavour towards continuing our dedication to helping our clients have an enduring peace of mind by securing their future, and to elevate the benchmark for excellent financial advisory by continuously pushing for innovative solutions that best suits ever-changing market needs.

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