Can My Will Cover Overseas Assets?
Published on 18th March, 2016 by Benjamin Li Yong Le
A Singapore Will can cover overseas assets or Singapore assets only
Another common question my clients ask me is whether a Singapore Will can cover overseas assets.
The answer is yes because a Singapore Will can cover assets in most countries unless there is a specific clause in the Will that it should only cover Singapore.
After you die, your Executor will have to obtain a Grant of Probate of your Singapore Will from a Singapore Court. Singapore governmental agencies and companies will recognise the Singapore Grant of Probate and release the monies / property to the Executor.
However, the Executor will have to look for a probate lawyer in the overseas country (e.g. Malaysia) to reseal the Singapore Grant of Probate in the Malaysian High Court (i.e. get a Malaysian Court to grant a court order to recognise / approve the Singapore Grant of Probate).
After the Singapore Grant of Probate is resealed in Malaysia, the Malaysian governmental agencies and companies will recognise the Singapore Grant of Probate approved by the Malaysian Court and release the monies / property to the Executor.
Another way of dealing with your assets is to engage a Wills lawyer in every country that you have assets in to draft a Will which covers only assets in that country e.g. A Will for Singapore, a Will for Australia and a Will for the UK.
This way, after you die, your Executor will have to liaise with three sets of lawyers in each country to obtain separate sets of probate in each country i.e. there will be three Grants of Probate.
Please note that some countries including Indonesia and Thailand do not recognise foreign Wills and probate. It is good practice if you have overseas assets to check whether that country recognises Singapore Wills and Probate.