If you had just lost a loved one and he/ she left behind a Will, you may be wondering about how to apply for probate in Singapore?
In the Will, a trusted person of the deceased will be appointed as the executor. The executor will apply for the grant of probate in Singapore and thereafter, he/ she will administer the estate of the deceased. This means paying off all debts of the deceased and distributing his/ her assets according to the wishes of the deceased.
If the deceased passed away without a Will, you will need to apply for a grant of letters of administration instead. Taking over the role of the executor will be the spouse or next-of-kin of the deceased. In general, beneficiaries/ family members of the deceased will jointly agree on the appointment of the administrator.
Where to Apply for Probate in Singapore?
If the total asset value of the deceased’s estate is under S$3 million, the application will be to the Family Justice Courts. If the total asset value of the deceased’s estate exceeds S$3 million, the application will be to the High Court.
In some cases where the deceased has total asset value of S$50,000.00 or lower, an application may be made to the Public Trustee Office to act for you.
How to Apply for Probate in Singapore?
The executor will need to submit the required documents to the Court. These documents include the certified copy of the Will of the deceased. The grant of probate is a Court order authorising the executor to administer the estate of the deceased.
A named executor in the Will may choose to renounce the right to apply for the grant of probate. The ways to do so are described under Section 3 of the Probate and Administration Act. The named executor may renounce orally at the probate hearing or by way of writing (by way of an affidavit).
It may be advisable to seek the assistance of an experienced probate lawyer in Singapore in applying for the grant of probate, given the amount of paperwork and process involved. After the application is submitted and if everything is in order, the Court will make an order-in-terms of the probate application. Thereafter, the executor will apply to extract the grant of probate. A search should be conducted to ensure that there is no caveat in force before the extraction of the grant of probate.
Duties of Executor
The executor will need to perform the following duties:
1. Apply for probate in Singapore.
2. Extract the grant of probate, after an order-in-terms has been made by the Court.
3. Arrange for the funeral of the deceased.
4. Determine the assets and liabilities of the deceased.
5. Pay off the debts and liabilities of the deceased from the estate. For instance, this could include outstanding tax liability of the deceased under Section 58 of the Income Tax Act.
6. Pursue debts owed to the deceased.
7. Distribute the remaining assets to the beneficiaries under the Will, assuming that the deceased’s estate is solvent.