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Wills, Probate and Inheritance in Singapore

When a loved one passes, you’ll need to apply for the legal right to deal with their property, money and possessions (their ‘estate’).

Death without a Will in Singapore

If the deceased died without a will, you may be eligible to apply for a grant of probate. If the deceased passed with a Will, you will need to apply for a Letter of administration in the State Courts.

You can apply for this yourself or use the services of a Singapore solicitor who specialises in Estate matters.

Most cases will follow the same basic process. You will need to do the following:
  1. If there’s no will – and if it states who sorts out the distribution of the estate. If there’s no Will, the next of kin can apply.
  2. Apply to get a Grant of Probate - this gives you the legal right to access the person’s assets, including bank accounts.
  3. Collect all of the estate’s assets - eg money from the sale of property, bank accounts, insurance policies, shares, etc.
  4. Pay any outstanding debts - eg unpaid utilities bills, personal loans and funeral expenses.
  5. Distribute the estate - this means giving proceeds of all assets (any property, money or possessions) to the beneficiaries.
When a Grant of probate is not needed

You don’t normally need a grant if the estate either:
  • passes to the surviving spouse/civil partner because it was held in joint names, eg a savings account, Joint tenancy of HDB flat.
  • doesn’t include land, property or shares.
Financial institutions have their own rules - you may still be required to apply for a grant.

If the person left a Will

You can apply to the State Courts for a Letter of Administration if you’re the ‘executor’ of the will , that is, the person named to deal with the estate.

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