The first step in estate planning is to take stock of what you own. Learn about what's included in your estate, types of ownership and how that impacts the calculation of your estate's net value.
- Consider the nature of ownership as it affects your net value.
- Your total assets form the gross value of your estate.
- Net value is the sum used to distribute your estate.
What do you have?
Think about what you have that's valuable — your money, property and possessions. These are the assets that form your estate.
Types of assets include:
- Liquid assets: Cash, savings, fixed deposits, current accounts, time deposits, currency deposits
- Investments: Unit trusts, shares, bonds and investment property
- Personal assets: Cars, jewellery, home, club membership, antiques
- Insurance payouts: Endowment, whole life, term, investment linked, group term life plans and Dependants’ Protection Scheme
- CPF savings: Your Ordinary Account, Special Account, Medisave and Retirement Account balances
You also need to take a look at your liabilities. This includes everything you owe, such as your home and car loans, credit card debts, and other family debts.
Do you own your property with someone?
If you own your property with someone else, it's important to look at the nature of ownership. It will determine the portion of the asset you're legally able to transfer.
There are three types of ownership:
- Sole ownership – You have the authority and the right to decide how the asset can be transferred.
- Tenancy-in-common – You have the right to transfer only the portion of the asset owned by you. The remaining portion of the asset remains with the joint owner.
- Joint tenancy – Ownership and control of the asset are automatically transferred to the surviving owner. You therefore cannot will your share of the property to another person.
Calculate your estate's net value
Your liquid assets, investments and insurance payouts, and personal assets all add up to make the gross value of your estate.
The net value of your estate takes into account your assets, liabilities, fees and expenses, and the nature of ownership.
Liabilities include credit card arrears, housing, car, and education loans; plus funeral expenses, probate fees, income taxes and family needs.