When a person who has made a Will passes away, the executor appointed in the Will has to make an application to Court for a Grant of Probate. A Grant of Probate is a court order which gives the executor the power to administer the estate and distribute the deceased’s assets in accordance with the Will.
In Singapore, an executor has to be at least 21 years old. This age comes into effect on the death of the creator of the Will. This means that it is possible to appoint a teenager to be an executor in a Will first, in anticipation that the teenager will be above 21 years old when the creator of the Will passes on.
For more information on drafting a Will, it is preferable to seek the assistance of a lawyer to ensure the Will is validly executed.
In the event the Will does not name an executor, or if the appointed executor does not wish to fulfill the role, then there will have to be an application for Letters of Administration with Will annexed instead, which is a slightly different process from applying for a Grant of Probate.
How to Apply
Though most of the probate applications are non-contentious, it is a complex matter in terms of the necessary documentation required. It is advisable to engage a lawyer to facilitate the application process and to handle the large amount of paperwork.
Note: If the value of the estate is $5 million or less, the application is filed in the Family Court. If the value of the estate is more than $5 million, it is filed in the Family Division of the High Court.
Generally, we will require from you the following documents:
- Original death certificate of the deceased;
- Original Will of the deceased;
- The deceased’s marriage certificate (if any);
- Children’s identity card / birth certificates (if any).
The documents required for Grant of Probate:
Stage 1: Filing the application
- Originating Summons;
- The Caveat searches;
- The Statement for Probate;
- The Administration Oath;
- The Death Certificate;
- The Will;
- Forms of Renunciation (if any);
The Originating Summons is filed “ex parte”. This means that the executor(s) is the only applicant involved in the application. The Originating Summons will include information such as:
- The details of the deceased (e.g. information about his death / religion etc.)
- The details of the applicant
- The order requested
Stage 2: Providing the supporting Affidavit and Order In Terms (“OIT”) of Originating Summons
- Supporting Affidavit (to be filed within 14 days from filing of OS);
- Schedule of Assets;
- Supplementary Affidavit (if Schedule of Assets is not filed with the Supporting Affidavit)
- Summons for Dispensation of Sureties (if any).
Step 3: Extracting the Grant
- Request to Extract Grant;
- Administration Bond;
- A final caveat search
Upon the filing and acceptance of the application, the Court will inform of a probate hearing date and time. However, if all documents are filed and accepted by the Court before the hearing date, the Court may vacate the hearing.
Once the Court accepts that no other documents are required, we will be able to extract the Grant of Probate. A final search has to be made to ensure that there are no caveats lodged against the estate. Once the Grant of Probate is issued, you may then bring this Grant to the various institutions (e.g. Banks / HDB etc.) to realise the deceased’s assets.
Length of Process
For non-contentious probate applications, the matter may require attendance in the Family Justice Courts and could take as short as 3 months to beyond 6 months to complete as there are several steps in the process, provided the required documents are filed promptly. In general, you should be able to receive the Grant of Probate within a month of the last court document being filed.
Please note that this article does not constitute express or implied legal advice, whether in whole or in part. If you require legal advice, please contact us firstname.lastname@example.org for your free first legal consultation. While efforts have been made to ensure the accuracy of the work, any errors remain the author’s own.