Cheaper and more convenient will-writing services for residents in the north-east

A posed photo of a man signing a document. Low-income residents in the north-east will soon be able to draw up their will and Lasting Power of Attorney at subsidised rates at the newly launched Life Centre @ North East. PHOTO: ST FILE

SINGAPORE - In an effort to encourage residents to prepare legal documents that will help protect their assets in the event of a loss of mental capacity, or death, the North East Community Development Council (CDC) is subsidising low-income residents.

The CDC also launched the Life Centre @ North East on Sunday (Oct 21) to make it more convenient for residents to draw up their will and Lasting Power of Attorney (LPA), which enables someone to appoint a person to make decisions on their behalf should they lose their mental capacity.

The centre, which is located at the Tampines Central Community Club, will open from Nov 9.

It will operate once a week on Fridays from 3pm to 8pm.

The services will be provided by North East CDC's legal service provider, Fortis Law, and will be priced lower than the market rate. According to North East CDC, the market rate for will-writing is priced from $99 onwards.

The North East CDC will further subsidise low-income residents who earn a monthly income of less than $1,100.

These subsidies are tiered, according to their income level.

For those earning $650 or less, preparing a will and the LPA will be free.Those earning above $650 up to $800 will have to pay $40 for a will and $25 for an LPA, while those earning above $800 up to $1,100 will have to pay $56 and $35 respectively.

Mr Desmond Choo, Mayor of North East District, officiated the launch of the Life Centre @ North East on Sunday.

He said many residents, especially the elderly, are unaware of the importance of preparing a will and an LPA early, to protect their home, assets and family.

"Many residents put off making LPAs and wills. They are worried about the complexity and costs. Yet, in our ageing society, such legal instruments are more essential than ever," he added.

One of the residents who signed up to prepare both a will and an LPA is Mr Lim Aik Hwa.

The 54-year-old works in the food and beverage sector and earns $1,200 a month.

He told The Straits Times that he made the decision because he wants to ensure his assets go to his two daughters if anything happens to him.

Said Mr Lim: "You do not know when you might fall ill or meet an accident. Life is unpredictable, and no one knows what tomorrow will bring."

Founder and chief executive of Fortis Law Patrick Tan said it is essential for everyone, no matter what income group, to prepare these documents.

"Loss of mental capacity could happen to the best of us, regards of what income group you are in. So it is important for everyone to understand and to prepare these documents, regardless of your station in life," he said.

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