In the absence of a will, how is the deceased’s estate distributed?

Published on July 22, 2011

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

There are 9 simple rules outlined in section 7 of the Act.

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


It is worth noting that 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.

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  2. How do I make a will?
  3. Lasting Power of Attorney in Singapore
  4. Advance Medical Directives in Singapore
  5. Appointment of Deputies under the Mental Capacity Act
  6. Get An Affordable Will Made By Experienced Lawyers
  7. Where you should store your will
  8. What happens to your debts when you die?
  9. Why should you make a will?
  10. What is a joint will, mutual will and mirror will?
  11. Revocation of a Lasting Power of Attorney
  12. Organ donation in Singapore
  13. Mental capacity assessment for LPAs and wills
Distribution of Estate Assets
  1. What should I do with a deceased relative’s will? How is a will executed?
  2. In the absence of a will, how is the deceased's estate distributed?
  3. How do I contest a will?
  4. Wills, Probate, and Executors: What to do when a loved one passes away in Singapore
  5. Letters of Administration - Intestacy law in Singapore
  6. Inheritance (Family Provision) Act in Singapore
  7. Applying for a Grant of Probate in Singapore
  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
  11. What happens to residuary property not accounted for?
  12. What happens to a Singapore expatriate's assets when he passes on?
  13. How to access the bank account of a deceased spouse?
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  1. What is a trust? Trust law in Singapore
  2. Fiduciaries and fiduciary law in Singapore
  3. Muslim Inheritance Law in Singapore
  4. Setting Up a Discretionary Living Trust in Singapore
  5. How to donate your assets to charity?