What happens to your assets if you die without a will in Singapore?
Section 7 of the Intestate Succession Act tells you how the deceased’s estate is distributed to his survivors if there was no Will. The administrator of the estate must follow these Rules.
What Happens If Someone Dies Without A Will In Singapore?
If a person dies without a will in Singapore, the person is said to have died “intestate.” This means that the deceased person did not make a Will to state who should manage his estate and how his estate assets should be distributed.
Sometimes, the person may have made a Will but the Will was not done properly and declared as invalid. In such a scenario, the assets will also fall into intestacy.
So what happens to your hard earned assets and fortune if you die without making a Will in Singapore? The state decides for you – who manages your estate, who gets your assets and in what proportion. This is done through the Intestate Succession Act. You will have no say. This is why we advise all our clients to make a Will so that all your hard earned money will go to the people you love.
If you die without making a Will in Singapore, you can normally expect three main events to happen:
1. Your assets are frozen
Your assets will naturally be frozen because you are no longer around to deal with your asset. So, money cannot be taken out from your bank accounts, your properties cannot be sold, securities cannot be dealt with. To have access to your assets, your closest relatives or next-of-kin must apply to court for Letters of Administration.
The probate lawyers at PKWA Law frequently encounter the following common situations where assets are frozen and the next of kin requires a Grant of Probate (if there was a Will) or Letters of Administration (if there was no Will):
- If the deceased had a HDB flat or private property in sole name – the next-of-kin must apply for probate to transfer or sell the property.
- If the deceased had bank accounts in sole name – the next-of-kin must apply for probate to take out the monies.
- If the deceased had insurance policies payout – the insurance company will require to see the Grant of Probate or Letters of Administration so that they know they are paying out to the authorised person.
- If the deceased had shares or a car – to sell or transfer the shares or car, proof of probate is required.
2. Your next-of-kin must apply for Grant of Letters of Administration .
Your closest next of kin (usually the spouse or eldest child) should appoint a probate lawyer to obtain Grant of Letters of Administration. This is a court order that appoints your next of kin as the personal administrator of your estate. The personal administrator is tasked with collecting all your assets, paying off debts and then distributing the rest of the estate assets to the lawful beneficiaries.
Your next of kin must apply for Grant of Letters of Administration if you have assets – without the Letters of Administration, your next-of-kin cannot transfer the assets and distribute them to the lawful beneficiaries.
At PKWA Law, our fees for applying for Letters of Administration are one of the most affordable in Singapore at just $1,500. If you need to find out more about the application for Letters of Administration and the fees, please read our article on the probate process and probate fees here.
3. The next-of-kin must distribute the estate assets according to the law
If you did not leave behind a Will in Singapore, the distribution of the estate assets must be done according to the Intestate Succession Act. The distribution or inheritance includes any bank accounts, securities, real estate, and other assets that you own at the time of death, after paying off your debts and his tax.
How are estate assets distributed or inherited without a Will in Singapore?
If you die without a Will in Singapore, how your estate assets will be divided depend greatly on whether you were single or married, or had children.
There is a great misconception that when a person dies without a Will, the spouse will inherit everything. This is not necessarily true. It is only true if the person died without surviving parents and has no children. Once there is a child or parents, the spouse will not get everything but will get 50%.
In most cases, your property is distributed in split shares to your family members, which could include your surviving spouse, siblings, aunts and uncles, grandparents.
Section 7 of the Intestate Succession Act tells you how the deceased’s estate is distributed to his survivors if there was no Will. The administrator of the estate must follow these Rules. The Rules are as follows:
If you have only a spouse (but no children, no parents)
Your spouse gets everything.
If you have a spouse and children
Your spouse will get half of your assets and your children will get the other half in equal proportions.
If you have only children (but no spouse)
Your children get everything in equal shares.
If you have a spouse and parents (but no children)
Your spouse gets half and your parents get the other half in equal shares.
If you have only parents (but no spouse and no children)
Your parents get everything in equal shares.
If you have only brothers and sisters (but no spouse, no children and no parents)
Your brothers and sisters (or children of the deceased brother or sister) get everything in equal shares.
If you have only grandparents (but no spouse, children, parents, brothers and sisters or children of deceased brother and sister)
Your grandparents get everything in equal shares.
If you only have uncles and aunts (but no spouse, children, parents, brothers and sisters or children of deceased brother and sister and no grandparents)
Your uncles and aunts take everything in equal shares.
ABOUT PKWA LAW
PKWA Law has one of the largest family law practices in Singapore. The team is headed by Mr Lim Chong Boon, a leading family lawyer in Singapore.
PKWA Law is one of Singapore’s leading family law firms. The Wills and Probate team at PKWA Law provides affordable and quality services for probate and will matters. Our fees are fixed, clear and transparent:
$350 – Wills drafting
$1,200 for Grant of Probate
$1,500 for Letter of Administration
(GST & Disbursements not included)
Contact us today at tel 6854-5336 for a free first consultation.
PKWA PROBATE LAWYERS
What Happens to Your Assets If You Die Without A Will In Singapore? by PKWA Wills & Probate Lawyers