Kith & Kin

How do I know if probate is needed?

man's arms on railing as he thinks about probate law

Photo by Ümit Bulut on Unsplash

The application for a Grant of Probate can be a burdensome task, so it is essential that your executor is able to determine whether or not your will is subject to probate law.

As someone who is preparing for the well-being of your loved ones upon your death, the objective is to ensure your assets are distributed to your rightful heirs properly and promptly.

Grant of probate meaning

A probate is a legal procedure wherein the executor or the deceased’s relatives prove in court that the will is valid. Only after the court’s approval can the executor take steps in administering your estate.

In Singapore, the probate law deems it is necessary for your executor to apply for a Grant of Probate if your estate exceeds $50,000 and/or there are no outstanding debts and liabilities.

If the gross value of your estate does not exceed $3 million, your executor must file the application in the Family Justice Courts. Otherwise, the application has to be filed in the Family Division of the High Court.

If you have not named an executor in your will, the probate law requires Letters of Administration from someone fittest to administer your estate. Like the Grant of Probate, this legal document is also obtained from the courts.

Note also, that If you have assets overseas, then the Grant of Probate has to be also resealed in the court where the properties in your probate assets list are located.

When is probate not required?

Some assets have provisions for their transfer upon an owner’s death. Such provisions prevent these properties from being subject to the probate law and procedures. Here are some assets that do not need probate:

  • Jointly held or co-owned assets that include survivorship clause
  • Assets that already have an appointed valid beneficiary (insurance policies and CPF)
  • Assets which include a transfer-on-death (TOD) or payable-on-death (POD) provision
  • Assets in a living trust
  • Some other types of property ownership (eg: community property)
  • Some other assets such as household goods and vehicles are subject to certain state inheritance laws

Probate serves to validate the terms stipulated in your will. Most of the time, the application process is non-contentious, but in cases of disputes, probate becomes all the more necessary.

So how do you avoid probate? Proper knowledge of the probate law and understanding of the grant of probate meaning will ensure that you can determine if probate will be needed for your will. For most cases and especially in complex scenarios, it is best to consult with a probate lawyer in Singapore.

Here at Kith & Kin Law Corporation, we offer expert advice on Grant of Probate Singapore to assist you on the best approach for your unique circumstances and needs.

If you would like to know more about probate law and how it affects your will, schedule a discussion with us today.