The Process Of Applying For A Grant Of Probate In Singapore
AspectLaw | February 15, 2022
In many soap operas and movies, the events that follow the death of a wealthy person are either a dramatic battle for inheritance or a simple distribution of assets among children. In the real world, however, if a family wishes to carry out instructions outlined in a will, a complex legal procedure must be followed.
Before the executor(s) specifically appointed by the deceased in the will can be allowed to distribute the assets, he or she must first make an application to the court for a Grant of Probate.
What is the Grant of Probate?
The Grant of Probate is a court order that grants the appointed executor(s) and/or trustee(s) the authority to carry out the instructions in the will, including managing and distributing of the deceased’s assets to the beneficiaries named in the will.
Appointed executor(s) and/or trustee(s) must obtain a Grant of Probate if the value of the deceased’s estate exceeds $50,000. If the value is not more than $50,000 and there are no outstanding debts and liabilities, one can choose to apply for the Public Trustee to administer the estate instead of applying for a Grant of Probate.
If a Grant of Probate is required and the gross value of the estate does not exceed $3 million, the application should be filed in the Family Justice Courts. If the gross value of the estate exceeds $3 million, the application should be filed in the Family Division of the High Court.
If you are named as an executor in a will but do not want to administer the deceased’s estate, you may renounce your right to act. If no executors are named in the will, a friend, family member, or other interested party may come forward and petition the court to become the administrator of the estate by obtaining Letters of Administration. If no one comes forward on their own, the court may grant the authority to the person deemed “fittest to administer the estate”.
The application for a Grant of Probate requires a significant number of documents to be submitted to the court in accordance with the law and within a stipulated timeline. We recommend seeking legal counsel from a probate lawyer in Singapore to ensure a smooth application process.
Grant of Probate Application Process
1. Preparation of Documents
A list of documents needs to be prepared and filed in court at different stages of the application. These documents can be found on the Family Justice Courts website. Otherwise, you can get your probate lawyer to help you obtain and prepare the documents. The documents required include:
- Ex parte originating summons
- Statement for probate
- A certified true copy of the death certificate
- A certified true copy of the will
- Caveats and application search
- Administration Oath
- Supporting affidavit
- Schedule of assets
- Supplementary affidavit
2. Submission of Main Application & Supporting Documents
Your probate lawyer will have to file the application electronically through the eLitigation portal. If you intend to file the application without assistance from a lawyer, you will have to do so at CrimsonLogic Service Bureaus.
After the documents have been filed in court, you will be required to provide a list of supporting documents within a given timeline.
3. Hearing in Court
The court will notify your probate lawyer of a hearing date and time following the filing and acceptance of the application and the Administration Oath.
Unless the rest of the supporting documents are filed and accepted by the court before the hearing date, your lawyer is required to attend the hearing on the scheduled date and time. In such cases, the court may vacate the hearing date.
4. Submission of Supplementary Affidavit and Schedule of Assets
When you submit the supporting documents for your Grant of Probate application, you must include a Supporting Affidavit with the Schedule of Assets. However, you may not be able to confirm the details of the deceased’s assets early in the application process in some cases. When this occurs, your probate lawyer will ask you to sign the Supporting Affidavit without the Schedule of Assets so that it can be filed in court before the deadline.
Based on the Supporting Affidavit, the court will issue an “Order-in-Terms” (without the Schedule of Assets). Your lawyer can then write to the relevant financial institutions on your behalf, requesting detailed information about the deceased’s outstanding accounts/monies/shares. You will be required to sign a Letter of Authorisation addressed to each financial institution.
Once your lawyer has received the relevant information and is able to complete the Schedule of Assets, you will be asked to sign a supplementary affidavit in the presence of a Commissioner for Oaths. The Supplementary Affidavit exhibiting the complete Schedule of Assets will then be filed on the eLitigation portal.
5. Extracting the Grant of Probate
After the court has confirmed that all required documents are in order and the estate is eligible for probate, the executor or the probate lawyer can request the extraction of the Grant of Probate.
A final search must be done to ensure that there are no caveats or pending applications lodged against the Estate. The final Caveats and Application Search must be submitted along with the request for extraction.
If all documents are in order and all fees are paid, the court will prepare and issue the Grant of Probate, which will include an engrossed Schedule of Assets. With the Grant of Probate, the executor may begin administering the deceased’s assets.
Dealing with the death of a loved one is emotionally and physically draining, let alone having to go through a series of legal procedures and prepare legal documents for the Grant of Probate. Rather than toiling through it alone, enlist the help of a probate lawyer in Singapore and let the professional handle the legal work for you. Contact us today for more legal assistance.
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