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Probate and administration

What is probate and administration

When a loved one passes away, they leave behind their estate. This includes their money and property (such as cash, real estate, financial securities, possessions and other assets), as well as their liabilities (such as debts).

Estates must be administered and distributed in accordance with the law. Probate and administration is the legal process of appointing someone to manage the deceased’s estate. The Family Courts and the Family Division of the High Court hear probate and administration applications.

Watch the video to find out more about probate and administration in Singapore.

Note

There are different types of probate and administration applications. This website only covers the process for the following cases (which do not involve competing parties):

For other cases not listed,you may wish to seek legal advice.

If you are unsure whether the deceased left a valid will, check with the Wills Registry or with the deceased's lawyers or family members.

Refer to the following to understand which you should apply for:

 

Probate

Letters of Administration

When to apply

If the deceased left a valid will.

If the deceased did not leave a valid will.

Who should apply

The executor that has been appointed in the will.

The beneficiaries of the estate, who may include the spouse, children, parents, siblings or other next-of-kin depending on the circumstances.

Who the applicant will be legally recognised as

The executor of the deceased's estate.

The administrator of the deceased's estate.

A grant may not be required to administer an estate below $50,000 if you satisfy certain criteria and the Public Trustee agrees to administer the estate.

You also may not need a grant for the following assets:

  • Immovable property (such as Housing & Development Board (HDB) flats) held under a joint tenancy with no outstanding mortgage.
  • Certain insurance policies with nominations.
  • Money in the deceased's Central Provident Fund (CPF) account.
  • Certain types of joint bank accounts and sole bank accounts that fulfil the specific bank's guidelines.
    • For example, joint accounts where the account holders have signed the bank documents agreeing to release money to the surviving account holder upon the death of an account holder.

If a grant is not required, contact the relevant institutions for the distribution and transfer of the assets.


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