A person makes a Will to provide for the administration and distribution of what
he owns (‘his estate’) among his beneficiaries after his death. This person is
called ‘the testator’. ‘Beneficiaries’ are those who inherit or benefit under
the Will. The ‘Executor’ is the person nominated by the testator to administer
and distribute his estate upon his death. Usually, the same person is appointed
as executor and trustee (a person who has the power to hold the estate of the
deceased on the death of the deceased).
If there are beneficiaries who are minors (persons under the age of 21 years) named in your Will, it will be preferable to have at least two Trustees who will be able to administer or hold any assets, invest, or use any money for the benefit of the minors.
If you are 21 years of age and of sound mind, you may make your own Will and
alter it during your lifetime without using the services of a lawyer.
However, without proper legal advice, you run the risk of your Will being
challenged or deemed invalid after your passing. Given that your Will is
exercised only after your passing, it is important to seek legal advice so
that your estate lands in the hands of your intended beneficiaries and will
not be subject to complications upon your passing.
If you are less than 21 years of age, you can only make a Will if you are a soldier in active military service, a mariner or a seaman at sea.
If there is no Will upon your passing,
then your estate will be distributed in accordance to Singapore’s Intestate Succession Act (section 7: Rules of Distribution).
As a general rule, the priority of distribution is as follows:
However, the actual distribution rules are complicated and it may be necessary to seek advise from a lawyer in order to determine whether or not a Will should be drafted in order to best reflect your wishes upon your passing.
Probate is a process by which the Family Justice Courts (FJC) proves and
validates a will, legally recognizing the executor named in the will.
Through the process of probate, a valid will becomes a legal instrument that is enforceable in the courts, if necessary. The executor/executrix, once legally recognized, takes administration of the testator’s assets and may subsequently handle and assign the testator’s assets according to the probated will.
When a deceased individual has not left behind a will, the deceased’s next of kin may submit an application for letters of Administration to the FJC. If the letters of Administration are granted, the administrator gains legal authority to administer the estate and distribute the deceased’s assets according to Singapore law.
In order for the courts to issue a grant of probate or letters of
administration, an application must first be filed in court. Supporting
documents detailing the assets of the estate should also be provided to your
lawyers. This will allow your lawyers to assess whether to file the application
with the Supreme Court or the FJC.
If such documents are not available, you may wish to instruct your lawyers to write to all the relevant institutions to enquire on the status of the estate’s assets.
If a will is valid and/or the application satisfies the necessary
requirements, the Registrar will generally grant probate. However, under
certain circumstances, the Registrar has the discretion to refuse a grant,
even towards an executor named in a valid will. Similarly, even if your
application for letters of administration is uncontested, the Registrar has
discretion to refuse a grant.
At Hoh Law Corporation, our lawyers are ready to advise and provide you with all the assistance necessary to ensure your petition or application meets all necessary requirements.
If you are the administrator or executor/executrix of a will, you are welcome to come for a free 15-minute consultation with our lawyers at your first appointment.
Kindly ensure that you bring the following documents with you at your first consultation:
Thank you for choosing HOH Law Corporation. For any general enquiries, please fill in the following contact form and we will get back to you as soon as possible. Alternatively, you may reach us at 6553 4800.