Probate Process in Singapore
Published on 16th January, 2017 by Benjamin Li Yong Le
Your Executor must obtain probate of your Will before the banks, insurance companies, HDB or Singapore Land Authority will recognise it
Probate is simply a court order to approve a will so that the banks, HDB, Singapore Land Authority and insurance companies etc will allow you to withdraw the money, pay the insurance proceeds, change the owners of the flat / property etc.
After you die, your Executor has to look for a probate lawyer to obtain probate of the Will within six (6) months of your death.
Your Executor is free to choose any law firm to obtain probate but we offer our Wills clients a special price of S$1,200 nett.
After your appointment has been confirmed with the probate lawyer, you will have to bring down the original death certificate and original copy of the Will and preferbly a draft list of your assets. You will typically be asked to sign consent forms addressed to the banks and insurance companies to consent to them releasing information to the law firm.
The law firm will file an originating summons ("OS") with the Family Justice Courts together with the death certificate and Will. One to two days later, the Court will approve the OS.
Once the OS is approved, you will have to sign an Oath and an affidavit in front of a Commissioner of Oaths which will be filed with the Court.
The law firm will then prepare the paperwork including writing to CDP, banks and insurance companies, and include a copy of the OS, death certificate, and consent letters to enquire if you have an account with them.
The Executor should also write to all credit cards, mobile phone company and country clubs to inform them about the death and to stop late penalty charges for credit card bills, handphone and monthly country club / instalment fees.
After the law firm receives a reply from the banks, CDP, insurance companies etc, the law firm will compile a list of assets and file with the Court.
If everything is in order, the law firm will apply to extract the grant of probate with the Court seal which is a PDF document generated by the e-filing system.
Typically, the law firm will mail you two or three copies of the grant of probate and schedule of assets which are stamped with the Court seal which you can show to the banks, insurance companies, HDB to withdraw the money / change ownership of the flat.
The whole process above takes between 2 to 4 months depending on the response of the various banks, insurance companies and institutions.
However, if you know for sure what the assets of the deceased are, and do not need to wait for reply from the banks, then the process will be faster around two to three weeks.