The Executor (the person named in the Will) has to apply for a Grant of Probate so that the beneficiaries can obtain their inheritance.




What is a Grant of Probate and Letters of Administration? Think of it as the legal steps to get your inheritance.

When someone passes away, you will not be able to inherit his or her assets straightaway. You cannot simply walk into the bank, claim to be the next of kin,  and ask to withdraw the deceased’s money. Neither can you transfer the deceased’s property to your name.

You will need to take legal steps to claim your inheritance lawfully.

This is what Probate Lawyers in Singapore do – to help the next-of-kin or the executors in applying for a Grant of Probate or Letters of Administration so that they can claim the deceased’s assets, pay off the estate debts and finally distribute them to the rightful beneficiaries.

To get your inheritance, the Executor named in the Will has to apply for a “Grant of Probate” (if there was a Will) or “Letters of Administration” (if there was no Will).


Steps to applying for Grant of Probate – Role of the Executor


First, you need to identify if the deceased left behind a will.  If he did, then you would know who he had named as his executor.

The Executor is a critical person in probate.  He is the person the deceased had chosen to be the ‘trusted one’ to sell, collect his assets, and distribute the assets according to the deceased’s wishes in the will.

Second, once the executor has been identified, the Executor needs to engage lawyers to apply for a ‘Grant of Probate’.   Only the named Executor can apply for a Grant of Probate in Singapore.

Simply put, a ‘Grant of Probate’ is a court order that tells the world that he, the Executor, has been appointed by the court to collect and to sell the deceased’s assets so that he may distribute them to the beneficiaries. The banks and financial institutions will obey the Grant of Probate (since it is a court order) and deal with the Executor.

Third, once a Grant of Probate has been obtained, the Executor is required to collect the deceased’s assets and distribute them to the beneficiaries in the manner spelt out in the Will.


What if there is no Will?


If there is no will, then the process is a little more complicated (this is why we always advise clients to make a will).

If there is no Will, the law states that a member of the immediate family may apply to the court to be appointed as the estate’s personal representative.

Usually (but not always), the personal representative is the surviving spouse or the eldest child.  If the most suitable family member does not wish to be the personal representative, the family members must choose one member to be the personal representative.   Lawyers will then be appointed to apply to the court for that family member to be named the estate administrator. The court order for this is called Letters of Administration.’


In applying for Grant of Probate:

  1. Check if there’s a will.  If there is a will, the Executor has to apply for Grant of Probate.  If there is no will, the personal representative applies for Letters of Administration.
  2. Apply for Grant of Probate or Letters of Administration.
  3. Collect the estate’s assets.
  4. Pay any debts.
  5. Distribute the remaining assets of the estate to the beneficiaries.


    Procedure for filing a Probate application

    There are 3 main stages of filing a probate application in Singapore.  The 3 stages are as follows (source:  Family Justice Court):

    flow chart for probate application in Singapore .

Our Probate Fixed Fees:


PKWA Law has helped clients get Grant of Probate and Letters of Administration for the past 3 decades.  Our fees are extremely affordable and low cost:


Grant of Probate – $1,200

Letters of Administration – $1,500

(GST and disbursements not included)

 .probate and letters of administration - fees

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It sometimes happens that the deceased may be a citizen of another country and may have Singapore assets.

In such a case, the deceased family representatives would have to obtain probate first in their original country and then come to Singapore to obtain resealing to gain access to the assets in Singapore.  Resealing of a Grant of Probate/Letters of Administration is thus obtaining the authorisation by the Court of a second country (in this case, Singapore)  after the Grant has been obtained in the Court of the first country.

As an example, if an Australian citizen passes away in Australia and has assets in both Australia and Singapore, the family members would have to obtain Grant of Probate in Australia first (so that they can have access to the deceased’s assets in Australia).   After that, they would need to come to Singapore to apply for resealing to gain access to the Singapore assets.



PKWA Probate Lawyers

PKWA Law is one of Singapore’s largest family law firms.  We offer family law services at affordable fees.

PKWA Law’s team of Family Lawyers is consistently named as leading Singapore family and divorce lawyers by respected publications such as Benchmark Litigation, StraitsTimes, Asian Legal Business, Singapore Business Review, and Doyle’s Guide.

Contact us at tel 6854-5336 for a free first consultation if you require our assistance in applying for a Grant of Probate or Letters of Administration.




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