What Happens If You Die Without a Will in Singapore?

Last updated on May 28, 2021

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:

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 If There are No Surviving Next-of-Kin?

As stated in the table above, the government is entitled to a person’s assets if they die without leaving a will and without any surviving next-of-kin.

In this case however, it is possible for other persons unrelated to the deceased to inherit the deceased’s assets if they can make an equitable or moral claim against the deceased’s estate.

This is known as making a claim against a Bona Vacantia estate, which you can learn more about in our other article.

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

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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  6. Applying for a Grant of Probate in Singapore
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  1. Who Gets the Joint Bank Account Monies if One Owner Dies?
  2. Bona Vacantia: Dying With No Will or Relatives in Singapore
  3. Dispute with Executor of Will in Singapore: What to Do
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