If a Will has been executed by the deceased but the named executor is uncontactable what can you do? In cases where the deceased did not execute a Will, the closest next-of-kin has the priority in making an application for the grant of letters of administration. The order of priority is as follows:
1. The beneficiary of the deceased’s residuary assets.
2. The executor of the beneficiary, if the beneficiary is deceased.
3. Beneficiaries under the Will who are the deceased’s closest next-of-kin.
4. Any beneficiary of the next-of-kin.
5. Any creditor of the deceased.
Assuming that a person on top of the priority list is uncontactable, an application may be made to the Family Justice Courts to prove “constructive renunciation” of the person with the priority.
Probate citation proceedings in Singapore should be commenced. This involves serving the Defendant (i.e. the person with the priority) the citation. The Defendant should enter an appearance and make an application for the grant of probate/ letters of administration by a certain date. Even if there is no appearance entered by the Defendant, it should be proven that the Defendant has “constructively renounced” his/ her right to be the administrator/ executor.
All the circumstances should be taken as a whole. If the Defendant is uncontactable but had expressed an intention to be the administrator/ executor, the probate citation proceedings in Singapore would not result in the renunciation of the rights of the Defendant. For instance, the Defendant may have meddled with the deceased’s affairs and acted like an administrator/ executor. In some cases, the Defendant may respond out of time.
Even if the Defendant is taken to have constructively renounced his/ her right, the Defendant may withdraw his/ her renunciation if it is for the benefit of the estate or beneficiaries under the Will/ intestacy.
If there is no named executor or if the named executor does not enter appearance even after the commence of the probate citation proceedings, letters of administration may be granted to the person(s) whom the Court considers to be the most capable of administering the estate.
In the event that the deceased’s next-of-kin do not make an application for letters of administration, the creditors may apply. In the event that no creditor makes an application, the Court may grant the letters of administration to whoever is the most capable of administering the estate in the opinion of the Court.
You should engage an experienced probate lawyer to assist you with probate citation proceedings in Singapore, should the named executor/ closest next-of-kin of the deceased be uncontactable or unwilling to assist.
For more information on probate citation proceedings in Singapore, contact us at +6598330314 (whatsapp).
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