Due to the fairly lengthy process of applying for a Grant of Probate, this topic will be presented in two parts, each addressing one of the following key areas:
- What to expect from the process, and what documents would need to be prepared by the lawyer?
- What are the documents and forms that are required after the originating Court documents have been filed, and what the executor should take note of.
In our previous article, which is the first in the series, we looked at what the executor can expect in the process of applying for the Grant of Probate, and what documents would need to be prepared by a lawyer. In this article, we shall examine what other documents and forms are required to obtain a Grant of Probate after the initial documents have been filed in Court, and point out potential issues that the executor should take note of.
Ok, the documents needed for the preliminary stage are ready! What next?
If you had engaged a lawyer to assist you in your probate documentation, the lawyer would have by now filed the Originating Summons, Statement of Probate and also the certified true copies of the death certificate and last will and testament of the deceased (the “Deceased”) (the “Originating Documents”). The lawyer would have submitted the Originating Documents online by the e-litigation portal. Whilst it is also possible for you to file an application for the Grant of Probate by yourself, you would need to submit all of the Originating Documents in person at the Crimsonlogic Service Bureau.
Once the Originating Documents have been filed, you will receive a provisional probate case number, as well as a checklist of the following items which you will also need to prepare and file:
Administration of Oath (Form 54)
As you are applying for the right to be the executor of the Deceased’s will, and to administer his/her estate, according to Section 28 of the Probate and Administration Act, you are required to give an undertaking to the Court that you will administer the Deceased’s estate and effects of the Deceased by paying his/her debts and distribute the Deceased’s estate so far as the estate and effects will extend and the law allows, including rendering a just and true account of your administration of the Deceased’s estate. This undertaking is set out in a Court form called the Administration Oath. The Administration Oath has to be signed before a Commissioner for Oaths before it is filed with the Court.
Supporting Affidavit (Form 225)
In addition, you would also need to affirm an affidavit, called the Supporting Affidavit setting out that the contents of the Originating Documents are true and accurate to the best of your knowledge and belief.
Schedule of Assets (Form 226)
When all information of the Deceased’s assets and liabilities are available, you will be required to file with the Court the Schedule of Assets, essentially a list of the Deceased’s assets (both local and overseas) and liabilities, setting out the market value of each of the assets and liabilities as at the date of the death of the Deceased. It is therefore important that as an executor, you are able to identify the Deceased’s assets and liabilities. If you do not have market value or the balance standing as at the date of the Deceased of the Deceased, your lawyer will be able to assist by writing to the relevant authorities and/or financial institutions for those information. It is pertinent to note that the Deceased’s Central Provident Fund monies are separate estate and do not form part of the Deceased’s estate to be distributed in accordance with his/her wishes set out in the Deceased’s last will and testament. Similarly, where insurance policies with named beneficiaries or are trust policies, each such policies form a separate estate and does not fall part of the Deceased’s estate to be distributed in accordance with the wishes of the Deceased in his last will and testament. Insofar as CPF monies are concerned, the Deceased should have during his lifetime made a CPF nomination as to whom his CPF monies should be inherited by on his/her death or if no nomination is made, to be distributed in accordance with the rules in the Intestate Succession Act.
Where the Schedule of Assets are filed outside the time frame required to file the Supporting Affidavit and where the information not affirmed as true and accurate, you would be required to subsequently sign a Supplementary Affidavit before a Commissioner for Oaths to affirm the contents of the Schedule of Assets as true and accurate and to file the same with the Court. Any assets and/or liabilities discovered after the Schedule of Assets have been filed and Grant of Probate extracted would require a separate Court application to amend the Schedule of Assets to include those newly discovered assets and/or liabilities before you have the authority to deal with the same.
So I’ve submitted and filed all the relevant documents. What next?
The Court could grant you probate at a probate hearing prior to the filing of the Schedule of Assets if all the Originating Documents and the Administration Oath are in order. However, the Grant of Probate cannot be extracted until the Schedule of Assets, affirmed in a Supplementary Affidavit have been filed and approved by the Court. Only upon the said approval that a request be made to extract the Grant of Probate but not before a final caveat and probate application search is conducted to confirm that between the time of the filing of the Originating Documents and request for the extraction of the Grant of Probate, there are no caveats and probate application, other than yours, filed against the Deceased’s estate. It is important to note that all Court documents filed in Court attract stamp duties which have to be paid at the time of the filing of each such document. Estate duty has been removed for deaths on and after 15 February 2008. For all deaths prior to 15 February 2008, estate duty remains payable, whether or not the deceased died domiciled in Singapore or not. For deaths before 15 February 2008, and whether estate duty is payable or not, estate duty would have to be paid to or estate cleared of estate duty payment by the Inland Revenue Authority of Singapore before a request can be made to the Court for the extraction of the Grant of Probate.
Upon the receipt of the Grant of Probate with the Schedule of Assets attached, you may then proceed to administer the Deceased’s estate. It is important that due care be taken the administration of the Deceased estate and a true account of all costs and expenses, payment of the Deceased’s liabilities and distribution to the beneficiaries of each of their share in the said estate be documented and signed off by each of them at the time of the said distribution.
Have a question on Probates?
If you have any questions about Probates, you can request for a quote with Aye Cheng or get a Quick Consult with other lawyers from a transparent, flat fee of S$49. You can expect a call back within 1-2 days on the phone to get legal advice and have your questions answered.
This article is written by Aye Cheng from A C Shone and Co. and edited by Tang Chee Seng from Asia Law Network.
This article does not constitute legal advice or a legal opinion on any matter discussed and, accordingly, it should not be relied upon. It should not be regarded as a comprehensive statement of the law and practice in this area. If you require any advice or information, please speak to practicing lawyer in your jurisdiction. No individual who is a member, partner, shareholder or consultant of, in or to any constituent part of Interstellar Group Pte. Ltd. accepts or assumes responsibility, or has any liability, to any person in respect of this article.