Estate Planning Stories: "Stay Strong & Carry On"

- May 07, 2018 1182

Till today, there is a person whom I will always continue to respect and take as a solemn and pitiful reminder of the importance and practicality of Wills; his name was Zhi Hao (not his real name). Zhi Hao started working at the age of 16 as his family was unable to fund his education, and scrimped and saved to pay for part-time courses. Growing up poor, he understood the struggles of poverty and vowed never to let his family undergo the same fate. He was stubbornly hardworking, refusing to take medical leave lest it affected his appraisal, and took up odd-jobs during the recession.

Zhi Hao was self-sacrificial when it came to ensuring his family's financial security. He was thrifty; often packed his lunch, and limited his meals out to the food court and hawker centre. His family's financial stability and well-being were what he held dearest. Through the course of knowing Zhi Hao, my respect for his character grew significantly.

Out of the blue, however, he experienced a cardiac arrest and passed on, leaving behind his wife and two children. His unfortunate and abrupt death shocked and deeply saddened many people; myself included. To make things worse, his death marked the opening chapter of his family's financial hardship. Despite the fact that he always wanted a simple funeral procession and cremation, his distraught wife planned an extravagant 7-day Taoist funeral procession- which she felt was the least she could do for her husband, all while Zhi Hao's assets had been frozen. As a housewife with no access to the bank account, his wife desperately borrowed from whoever she could to fund his funeral and burial. Furthermore, As Zhi Hao died intestate, the procedure for his family to access his assets was considerably slower and required assistance from lawyers.

Considering Zhi Hao's selfless love for his family, the family's resultant financial hardship was not something he would have ever wanted. A Will would have been a cheap solution in comparison to the emotional and financial stress that his; or any, grieving family should ever have had to go through.

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