PROBATE & LAS
Probate & Letters of Administration
Once a relative passes away, the numerous arrangements that have to be made straightaway may cause a lot of concern and stress. These immediate arrangements should be attended to first. However, after that, it is important to attend without delay to any need to apply for Grant of Probate or Letters of Administration.
For example, we have come across situations where the Inland Revenue Authority of Singapore (IRAS) have already imposed a deadline for the Grant to be issued. If the Grant is not issued by the deadline, IRAS would withdraw Owner-Occupied Residential Status for the flat because its owner had died. This would mean that a higher property tax would have to be paid. There is really no need to pay a higher property tax and it is simply a matter of contacting us at 6.535.1800 expeditiously.
Apart from that, the Court requires any one who applies for a Grant more than 6 months after the deceased had passed away to give reasons for the delay.
The procedure is usually as follows: At our first appointment, you should bring along your IC, the death certificate and any asset statements such as bank statements or title deeds. We will prepare the necessary documents on the spot. We will also check with you as to the deceased's details and also the assets and value thereof as at the date of death. By the end of the first appointment, we will have prepared your Administration Oath for you to sign (in order to save you from having to make an additional trip to sign it later).
The Administration Oath is for you to swear or affirm that you will carry out your three primary duties properly, which duties are: (a) to use the deceased's assets to pay off the deceased's debts; (b) to distribute the remaining balance according to law; and (c) to keep an account of where the funds have gone.
Then, we will conduct a search at the Wills Registry to check whether there is any will and, if so, whether it is of the same date as the will you have given to us.
Thereafter, we will file the documents into court and when the court responds, we will prepare a sworn statement (called a Supporting Affidavit) for you to sign to confirm that the information which we have filed into court on your behalf is true and accurate.
After this is filed and if all is in order, the Judge will grant the Order, that is, issue the sealed Grant of Probate or the Grant of Letters of Administration. We will then inform you for you to come to our office to collect the Grant and our task would be completed. You can thereafter go to the bank or insurance company or the Central Depository, etc, to deal with the deceased's assets.
Some people are not clear about the rationale or reason for a Grant. The rationale is as follows: When a person is still alive, she (or he) is allowed to buy or sell her (or his) own assets. However, once a person passes away, the law does not want there to be any confusion as to who is authorized to manage the deceased's estate. The Grant of Probate and the Grant of Letters of Administration makes clear the identity of the person authorized to manage the deceased's estate.