How to apply for a Grant of Probate in Singapore

singapore probate process

 

If a person passes away after making a valid will in Singapore, the executor(s) appointed by the deceased will have to make an application for a Grant of Probate.

  • To find out more about being an executor and what it entails, click here.

Essentially, the Grant of Probate is a court order conferring power on the executor(s) to administer the deceased’s estate in accordance with the deceased’s wishes. In the event the will does not name an executor, or if the appointed executor(s) chooses not 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.

Who can be an Executor?

Usually, the executor or executors will be people the deceased trusts to handle the distribution of his estate. For this reason, executors tend to be close family members and friends.

The main criteria is that executors have to be older than 21 years of age at the time of the deceased’s death and that he cannot be a bankrupt.

  • For more information on the roles and duties of an executor, click here.

Which court to apply to?

The Family Justice Courts were created in December 2014, and took over probate jurisdiction from the Supreme Court and the State Courts at all levels.

The courts are essentially divided between

(a) the Family Division of the High Court, which has probate jurisdiction for estates which exceed $5 million in gross value; and

(b) the Family Courts, which have probate jurisdiction for estates with a gross value of less than S$5 million.

What is the Application Process in Singapore?

General steps prior to Application

  • If the Will, death certificate and other supporting documents are not in the English language, it is necessary to get certified translations.
  • Assess the value of deceased’s estate for purposes of deciding the appropriate court to apply to.
  • Request that your lawyer search in the record of caveats and the record of probate applications to ensure that there are no caveats against the grant and no other pending applications or grants already having been issued for this estate.

Procedure

1) The application is made by way of ex-parte Originating Summons. The results of the probate caveats and probate applications search is to be stated on the originating summons as a certificate set out in Form 52 in Appendix A to the Family Justice Courts Practice Directions (“FJCPD”).

2) A Statement in Form 51 of the FJCPD is also required, which includes information such as:

  • The particulars of the deceased, including information about his death, religion and domicile.
  • The estimated value of the estate (for purposes of ascertaining which court to apply to);
  • Confirmation that the copy of the Will filed is a certified true copy of the Will;
  • Whether the application is filed within 6 months from the death of the deceased (and if not, the reason for the delay).

3) This Statement must be verified by an affidavit of the applicant and this has to be filed electronically within 14 days after the filing of the OS. The supporting affidavit must be in the prescribed format in Form 225 of the FJCPD, and has to exhibit the following documents:

(a) the Statement bearing the court seal, which shall be the 1s exhibit;

(b) the Schedule of Assets (if available) which shall be the 2nd exhibit; and

(c) other supporting documents referred to FJCPD Paragraph 62(4) and (5).

4) Required documents:

  • Certified true copy of death certificate
  • Certified true copy of will

5) Other supporting documents that may be required:

  • the Renunciations by executors who do not wish to take up the Grant of Probate
  • the executor’s administration oath. This however may be filed at the same time as the supporting affidavit
  • a Schedule of Assets listing the property comprising the estate of the deceased in accordance with Paragraph 67 of the FJCPD.

6) If everything has been done correctly, the court will inform your lawyer of a probate hearing date and time. Your lawyer will have to attend the hearing on the scheduled date and time, unless all the supporting documents are filed and accepted by the Court before the hearing date. Here, the court may choose to do away with the hearing date instead, and your lawyer will be able to request the Grant of Probate for you.


If you'd like to hire an affordable, vetted Singapore lawyer to draft a will, apply for grants of probate or letters of administration, get in touch with us here.