What Happens If You Die Without a Will in Singapore?

Last updated on April 15, 2019

Featured image for the "What Happens if You Die Without a Will in Singapore?" article. It features a will and a pen.

If the deceased did not leave a valid will behind before he passed away, Singapore’s rules on intestate succession, as outlined in section 7 of the Intestate Succession Act, will determine how the deceased’s estate is distributed to his survivors.

The rules are as follows:

SURVIVOR ABSENT WHO GETS WHAT
Spouse Children, parents Spouse gets everything
Spouse, children Spouse gets half, children gets the other half in equal portions
Children Spouse Children get everything in equal portions. Grandchildren can claim their parent’s share in equal portions if their parent is dead
Spouse, parents Children Spouse gets half, parents get half in equal portions
Parents Spouse, children Parents get everything in equal portions
Brothers and sisters (or children of the deceased brother or sister) Spouse, children, parents Brothers and sisters get equal portions. Their children can claim their share for them in equal portions if they are deceased
Grandparents Spouse, children, parents, brothers and sisters or children of such brothers and sisters Grandparents take the estate in equal portions
Uncles and aunts Spouse, children, parents, brothers and sisters or children of such brothers and sisters, grandparents Uncles and aunts take the estate in equal portions
None Everyone Government takes everything

Note: These Rules Do Not Apply to Muslims

The Intestate Succession Act does not apply to Muslims.

The distribution of property of a deceased Muslim domiciled in Singapore at the time of death is governed by Muslim law and the Syariah Court.

Watch the Video:

How to Start the Distribution Process

To start the distribution process, the deceased’s next-of-kin can apply to the court for a Grant of Letters of Administration. This is a court order authorising a person to administer the deceased’s estate, and distribute their assets, according to the rules in the Intestate Succession Act outlined above.

To find out what are the assets you can distribute under your will, download our free guide to will-making here:

What Should You Do If You Want to Write a Will?

It is possible for you to write your own will if you feel confident of doing so. Alternatively, you may also explore the following options:

Make a will online

We offer an online WillMaker service where you can make a will from home by answering a series of questions on the assets that you have and who should inherit these assets. You can also state who should be the guardian of your children who are under 21 years old when you pass away (if any).

The will document will be generated in Microsoft Word format. You can then print and sign it in the presence of 2 witnesses to make it legally valid.

WillMaker is ideal if you have a straightforward distribution of assets in mind and do not need other legal mechanisms such as setting up a trust. It costs $89 to make a will using WillMaker. Make a will via WillMaker here.

Hire a wills lawyer

If you need a more customised will, consider hiring a lawyer to draft a will for you. The lawyer will be able to tailor the will according to your precise requirements.

You can obtain quotes from lawyers who offer will-writing services through our Find a Lawyer service. Use of this service is free. Simply fill in your query and send it to up to 5 lawyers of your choice to receive quotes. Will-writing services by lawyers generally start from $300. Get will-writing quotes via Find a Lawyer here.

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  4. Wills, Probate, and Executors: What to Do When a Loved One Passes Away in Singapore
  5. Applying for Letters of Administration: Singapore's Intestacy Laws
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  8. Can a half-brother be considered a next of kin? (when distributing the assets of the deceased)
  9. What happens to property when a deceased’s next-of-kin or named personal representative is uncontactable?
  10. Obtaining a Fresh Grant of Probate and Resealing a Foreign Grant of Probate
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  16. Simultaneous Death: How are Assets Distributed When Family Members Die at the Same Time?
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