Online Probate Smartlaw
Smart Law makes Online Probate easier and affordable to secure release by the court of assets belonging to deceased to their loved ones, for either Probate with Will (Grant of Probate) or without Will (Letters of administration). .
What is Probate & Administration?
Probate or Letters of Administration are legal documents which the courts issue to enable the next of kin or beneficiaries (to whom deceased had earlier decided to give) to administer the assets of the deceased. Probate and Administration is the legal process of the court authorising or appointing the executor(will) or administrator(without will) who will administer, distribute or manage the assets of the deceased
To become the appointed executor/administrator, the intended person has to apply for either a Grant of Probate or Grant of Letters of Administration with the Family Justice Court (JFC).
What does Grant of Probate entail?
When a person dies and their last will is produced, the executor(s) (and trustee(s), a person or firm that holds or administers property or assets for the benefit of a third party where applicable), who have been specifically appointed by the deceased in the will, have to make an application to the FJC for a Grant of Probate.
The Grant of Probate is a court order which empowers the executor(s) (and trustee(s) where applicable) to carry out the instructions in the will which would include distributing the deceased’s assets to the specified beneficiaries.
If there is no will then the law assumes that the deceased wanted his next-of kin to benefit from his assets.
What is the application process for a Grant of Probate in Singapore?
Process of Applying for a Grant of Probate in Singapore
As there are several documents which are must be prepared and filed with the court, our partner firms will assist you with the application process for the Grant of Probate.
Step 1: Submission of the main application
The Main Application involves filing several documents in court. In practice, your lawyer will file the Application electronically using the eLitigation portal of the Family Justice Courts.
After the documents have been filed in court, your lawyer will assist you by providing the supporting documents required.
Step 2: Submission of supporting documents
Step 3: Hearing in Court
Step 4: Submission of supplementary documents by way of letters of enquiry for eg to banks
Step 5: Extracting the Grant of Probate
If all documents are in order and all fees are paid, the court will issue the Grant of Probate upon satisfactory examination of all documents. The electronic copy will be sent to your lawyer via the eLitigation portal and a certified true copy of the same from your lawyer should suffice for all purposes.
How long might I have to wait to get a Grant of Probate/Letters of Administration?
If your probate case is simple and does not present any complications, you may be able to obtain a Grant of Probate/Letters of Administration within 6 months of applying for it in Singapore. However, your application may take longer to process if it is more complex, such as in cases where the deceased has many assets that need to be identified and located.
You should also be able to receive the Grant of Probate within 4 to 6 weeks of filing the final court document.
However, with Smart Law’s legal services you will be able to file the documents to the courts quicker and so receive the Grant of Probate much faster than with traditional filing.
What if there is no executor named in the will or no will was left behind?
If there is no executor named in the will, section 13 of the Probate and Administration Act states that the court will allow Letters of Administration with the will annexed to be granted to the person(s) the court deems “fittest to administer the estate”.
If the deceased did not leave a Will or it cannot be found, the next-of-kin of the deceased are often (but not necessarily) the “fittest to administer the estate” to apply to court for a Grant of Letters of Administration if they wish to distribute or dispose of the deceased’s assets.
What are Grant Letters of Administration?
A legal document which authorises you to collect the deceased’s assets and administer and distribute the estate according to the Intestate Succession Act (ISA) to govern the distribution by persons who have not made wills.
When do I need to apply for a Grant of Letters of Administration?
Generally, you have to apply for a Grant of Letters of Administration when the deceased person passes away without leaving behind a will, and you wish to administer and distribute his or her estate.
However, you may also required to apply for a Grant of Letters of Administration where the deceased left behind a will, but there is a failure by the executors in any of the following situations:
There is no executor appointed by the will;
The executor(s) appointed by the will are legally incapable of acting as such, or have renounced their right to act as such;
The executor(s) passed away before the deceased;
The executor(s) passed away before obtaining probate, or administering all the deceased’s estate; or
The executor(s) appointed by the will do not appear and extract probate.
The person empowered by a Grant of Letters of Administration to administer a deceased’s estate is known as the administrator.
In administering the estate, the administrator is required to first pay the debts, taxes, funeral and other expenses of the deceased. After that, the administrator will distribute the balance of the estate according to law, which our partner firms can advise you on.
Who can be an Administrator?
According to section 18 of the Probate and Administration Act (PAA), the court may grant Letters of Administration to the deceased’s spouse, next-of-kin, or any of them individually or jointly
In particular , the Intestate Succession Act (persons who do not make wills) sets out 7 classes of persons who, in descending order of priority, are entitled to apply for this grant. They are the deceased’s:
- Nephews and nieces;
- Grandparents; and
- Uncles and aunts.
Infants (i.e. persons below 21 years old) and persons who are mentally impaired are not allowed to be administrators. Where a person entitled to a grant is below 21 years, such a grant will be made to his or her guardian.
Similarly, where a person entitled to a grant is mentally impaired, such a grant will be made to the person who has been legally entrusted with the mentally impaired person’s affairs whether the donee of an LPA or a Deputy.
Is there a limit to the number of administrators who can be appointed?
The court may appoint up to 4 administrators. If one or more of the beneficiaries of the estate is below 21 years of age, then either at least 2 administrators, or a trust corporation, must be appointed.
Can I give up my right to be an administrator?
If you are one of the persons who are entitled to apply, or may become entitled to, a Grant of Letters of Administration but do not wish to do or be so, you may renounce your right to apply for the grant.
You may renounce your right to apply for this grant in writing by a document called a Renunciation in writing before a Commissioner for Oaths.
How to Apply for a Grant of Letters of Administration?
It is recommended that you engage a lawyer to assist you in such an application as there are a number of documents to gather and file. Typically the lawyer’s legal fees would be covered by the deceased’s estate.
There are a few steps in applying for a Grant of Letters of Administration which our partner law firms will assist you with:
- Preparing the required documents
- Conducting a search for prior/existing probate applications on the estat
- Submitting your application for a grant
- Filing the supporting documents
- Extracting the grant
After extracting the grant, you will have the Grant of Letters of Administration which authorises you to manage the deceased’s estate.
What if the deceased died while overseas?
If the deceased passes away while overseas, you will need to obtain a death certificate issued by the foreign authorities, and an English translation if the death certificate is not in English.