PROBATE LAWYERS – WHAT SHOULD YOU DO WHEN SOMEONE PASSES AWAY WITHOUT A WILL?
When someone passes away without a will, the next of kin should appoint a probate lawyer to apply for a Letter of Administration to manage and distribute the property and assets of the deceased.
WHAT SHOULD YOU DO WHEN SOMEONE PASSES AWAY WITHOUT A WILL?
When a person passes away, the estate (property that the deceased had left behind) must be dealt with in accordance with the law. This means that the individual responsible for handling the deceased’s assets must apply to the Court before he or she can manage or distribute the property.
If there was a will
If a Will were made, it would specify at least one executor who would distribute or deal with the estate in the manner specified by the deceased. The executor will therefore be the person who would apply to the Court for a Grant of Probate. With the Grant of Probate, the executor would then be able to collect the property and deal with it according to the manner specified in the Will.
If there was no will
If someone dies without a will, that person is said to have died “intestate”. As there was no will, the deceased person’s property will be distributed according to rules laid down in the Intestate Succession Act.
The Intestate Succession Act sets out which living relatives are entitled to inheritance. The administrator of the estate must distribute the inheritance by following these Rules. The Rules are as follows:
If the deceased person has only a spouse (but no children, no parents)
The spouse gets everything.
If the deceased person has a spouse and children
The spouse will get half the assets, and the children will get the other half in equal proportions.
If the person has only children (but no spouse)
The children get everything in equal shares.
If the person has a spouse and parents (but no children)
The spouse gets half, and the parents get the other half in equal shares.
If the person has only parents (but no spouse and no children)
The parents get everything in equal shares.
If the person has only brothers and sisters (but no spouse, no children and no parents)
The brothers and sisters (or children of the deceased brother or sister) get everything in equal shares.
If the person has only grandparents (but no spouse, children, parents, brothers and sisters or children of deceased brother and sister)
The grandparents get everything in equal shares.
If the person has only had uncles and aunts (but no spouse, children, parents, brothers and sisters or children of deceased brother and sister and no grandparents)
The uncles and aunts take everything in equal shares.
.Applying for Letters of Administration
One of the first steps you need to do is to see a probate lawyer to apply for Letters of Administration. The probate lawyer will typically ask you to produce the deceased person’s death certificate and the birth certificates of family members.
Letters of Administration is a court order which grants the authority and power to a person (usually the spouse or the child) to become the “administrator” of the estate. The Letter of Administration gives the Administrator the power to value the estate, pay any debts and distribute the estate according to the intestacy rules.
Who can apply to be an administrator of an estate?
The duty of being an administrator will generally fall to a spouse or a next-of-kin. The administrator is determined according to the order detailed in Section 7 of the Intestate Succession Act. For Muslims, an administrator will be appointed under Muslim Law. One can refer to the Administration of Muslim Law Act for further information.
How long does a probate application take?
At PKWA Law, our probate lawyers normally obtain Letters of Administration within 4 to 6 weeks.
OUR PROBATE FEES
At PKWA Law, our probate fees are fixed, clear and transparent:
$1,200 – Grant of Probate
$1,500 – Letters of Administration
*GST and court fees are not included.
ABOUT PKWA LAW
PKWA Law has been recognised as one of “Singapore’s Best Law Firms” in 2021 by the Straits Times. Our lawyers are also consistently ranked as leading family lawyers by respected publications such as the Asian Legal Business, Benchmark Litigation Asia Pacific and Doyles‘ Guide.