Psychological Factors to Consider When Making a Will


Psychological Factors to Consider When Making a Will

Most of us understand that making a will is a prudent financial move. However, we often don’t due to certain psychological factors.

Published on 24 July 2015

Most of us understand that making a will is a prudent financial move. However, we often don’t due to certain psychological factors.

The therapeutic effects of making a will

This is the reason an ideal wealth manager is sometimes described as “20% fund manager, 80% psychologist”. We are not machines or corporate entities, and our emotional factors need to be addressed in issues like our will:

On the therapeutic effects of making a will

Mr. Rob White, Partner at St. James’ Place, says a will is not something to be dreaded:

Although many people view writing a will as a slightly morbid subject, I beg to differ.
I believe in many ways it can be like a trip to the spa – a therapeutic exercise.

You might understand this perspective if you’ve seen the consequences of not having a will.

In my 16 years in financial services, I’ve only been directly involved with the administration of one of my clients’ Estates, who unfortunately passed away and also (despite several reminders) never wrote a will. This began a chain of events, which after 14 months saw his Estate wound up, along with severe legal fees and an already upset family. They then had to deal with mountains of paperwork.

The client did, however, take out a life insurance policy in his mid-20s. A small solace which plugged a financial gap and made a big difference.

For expats residing in Singapore the situation is made a little more complex as, if you have children, the permanent guardians are likely to be 6,000 plus miles away and therefore should the worse happen there would be nobody to look after the children on an immediate basis.

With this in mind it is crucial to not only write a will, but also write temporary guardianship forms. I always tell my clients to stick these on the fridge at home or at the very least somewhere visible. These temporary guardians should be your best and most trusted friends in Singapore.

And do treat it like visiting a spa – for three hours of your time and a few hundred dollars, they both provide great peace of mind!

Besides the psychological reassurance of writing a will, there are other conditions to be aware of. To ensure the best results, you need to:

  • Take Your Time When Making the Will
  • The Involvement of Beneficiaries can Give You Peace of Mind
  • Always Seek a Second, Qualified Opinion
  • Don’t Ignore Sentimental Value


Take your time when making the will

You don’t have to complete the will at one go. In fact, you should take a few weeks – or even months – to finish the first draft. Remember that you may feel differently about something or someone as time passes.

Revising a will over time minimises the chance of being affected by spur of the moment decisions. You want to avoid finalising or revising a will in a moment of anger or extreme anxiety.

The longer you take to think things through, the better your will can serve your purposes.


The involvement of beneficiaries can give you peace of mind

Some people prefer to make their wills in private, without explaining what they’re leaving to whom. However, this is not necessarily the norm. You may feel anxious that your beneficiaries will misunderstand your intentions, or that they may be dissatisfied with your decisions.

In such cases, it is best to involve them when making the will. This way you can be sure that your beneficiaries are content, and that there are fewer possible disputes when it comes time to execute the will.

Always seek a second, qualified opinion

Your wealth manager isn’t just there to ensure your will is executed. They are also on hand to provide financial data and educated estimates. If you need to ensure your children have enough to get through University, or that your spouse has enough to cope with a medical condition, your wealth manager can work out the numbers.

As a rule of thumb, most people overestimate the amounts needed for issues like healthcare and education. It is also common to forget about factors like inflation and currency exchange rates.

A good wealth manager can help you to constantly update your will, as your life situation changes. We can put you in touch with one for free – just use our quick questionnaire, and we’ll find you the top experts in estate planning.

Don’t ignore sentimental value

When making a will, do not forget to address items that are of sentimental value. A specific car could mean a lot to a beneficiary, even if he would receive more than enough money to buy another one. An old watch, however little its monetary value, could be desirable to more than one of your family members for sentimental reasons.

Disputes over items of sentimental value can and do arise, so you might want to talk it over with beneficiaries while you can.