You live in a country where the wishes of the Dead are actually prioritised over the free will of the Living.
Every last wish of any dying man or woman is religiously recorded and ratified as law.
No living being may contravene the last wish until he or she has said his last words.
Your granny cannot remarry due to the unreasonable demand of her late husband.
Worse, no meat may be consumed within the boundaries of the nation just because some zealous vegan made it so with his final breath.
You secretly wish for your grandpa to go soon as he has revealed that he will wish for a mansion for each of his family members.
And a historic monument off Oxley Road has been lost due to the will of the past occupant.
This is where I assure you that we are still in make-believe land.
Any resemblance to actual person, living or dead is purely coincidental.
Of course, the recent spate between the famous Lees made me ponder over the titled question.
It goes beyond just a family tussle.
Now it is a national issue that warrants a session in the Parliament.
Pro-Life or Pro-death?
Many take the moralistic high ground of respecting the wishes of those who are no longer alive.
It is an easy position to take when one does not have to face any consequence.
However, it is definitely a problem when the wishes of the dead infringe on the needs, aspirations and well-being of the present and future generations.
If you state your preference to vote for the opposition in your will, should it be counted?
Is it democratic to allow those who are no longer living in this realm to continue to influence things in the living society?
Should you decide that you must not be removed from your deathbed post-death, what happens when an ill patient needs that ward?
Is it immoral to betray the wish of the deceased?
Or is it worse to subject a sick patient to worse healthcare outcomes just to accommodate a wish?
In the case of 38 Oxley Road, is it beneficial to the future generation to be able to visit the premises as part of understanding Singapore’s history and heritage?
Or does it make more sense to demolish the building so that our descendants understand the value of filial piety?
All these are questions that no one has an absolute right answer to.
An exception to the rule.
When it comes to wealth, things are pretty clear.
The dead always gets their ways.
That accounts for the wealth inequality around the world.
When it comes to wealth, the dead gets to control the future.
Not only are their wishes for transfer of wealth respected, their conditions are likewise adhered to.
They can demand the daughter to be married or the son to take over the running of his empire before their legacies are being passed on.
The recipients can choose to relinquish their inheritance, should they decide not to comply with the conditions.
Except for this exception, the dead almost always gets their wishes when it comes to estate succession.
How about insurance?
With the hullabaloo over 38 Oxley Road, it comes as no surprise if you start reviewing your estate planning.
Your assets should consist of insurance proceeds if you have insured well.
Should you be worried about it?
Luckily when it comes to insurance proceeds, it follows the same path as wealth.
It shall be distributed according to your will.
Otherwise, you may choose to make your own nomination and distribute the proceeds by the intended percentage.
Unless your will is not clear or contested, there is little danger that your insurance proceeds will end up in the wrong hands.
Not another busybody in the Lee affairs.
We reserve our judgments when it comes to 38 Oxley Road.
Simply because everyone has said their piece.
There is no value for us to add on since we are no legal experts.
Therefore we end with another story.
And another open-ended question.
To be or not to be
Vladimir Nabokov was a Russian-American novelist.
His final literary work was The Origin of Laura which he, unfortunately, did not manage to finish.
Thus, he left instructions for it to be destroyed upon his death.
His son, Dmitri thought so hard about it that it took him 30 long years to make a decision.
Finally, he decided that he should not commit literary-arson.
And went ahead to publish it. Dmitri also rationalized that the piece bought joy to many readers and felt that would be something that his father would have wanted.
What would you have done if you were Dmitri?
Please leave your thoughts with us in the comments below.
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