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:
- 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.
- Apply to get a Grant of Probate - this gives you the legal right to access the person’s assets, including bank accounts.
- Collect all of the estate’s assets - eg money from the sale of property, bank accounts, insurance policies, shares, etc.
- Pay any outstanding debts - eg unpaid utilities bills, personal loans and funeral expenses.
- Distribute the estate - this means giving proceeds of all assets (any property, money or possessions) to the beneficiaries.
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.
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.