Letters of Administration in Singapore: 6 Things to Understand

When an individual passes away without leaving a will, it is common for a close family member to assume the responsibility of distributing his / her assets, property, and money. This family member will be appointed as the estate’s administrator. However, before they can commence the process, it is probable that they will need to acquire the official letters of administration.

In the absence of a will, the letters of administration grant someone the authority to manage a deceased person's estate. In addition to distributing the assets to family members, this administrator also settles the person's remaining debts.

For several years, Exodus Law Corporation has been dedicated to simplifying the process of obtaining a grant for letters of administration or probate for families. We are committed to handling all aspects of the process, from applying for and obtaining the issuance of letters of administration or probate, as we recognize the difficulty and pain this may cause for you and your family. Our services include providing legal advice, preparing the necessary paperwork for court proceedings, and translating documents written in other languages if needed.

You can get assistance from a probate lawyer, who is knowledgeable in probate law, with the process of managing an estate after death. They ensure that the assets are divided efficiently and follow the will.

The Concept of a Letters of Administration

The "letters of administration" is a legal document that authorises an individual to manage the assets, debts, and taxes of a deceased person who did not leave a will or estate plan. The letters of administration specify the name(s) of the estate administrator(s) who will carry out these duties. Even if the executor is named in the will, a probate may be necessary if the executor is unable to fulfil his / her responsibilities due to legitimate legal, medical, or other reasons.

The roles and responsibilities of an executor and an administrator are similar, but the key difference lies in how they are appointed. An executor is named in the will, whereas an administrator is appointed by the court if there is no will or if the executor is unable to fulfil his / her duties. In some cases, if the court deems a will to be invalid, an administrator may be appointed to carry out the necessary tasks.

In cases where no one comes forward to act as an administrator, the court may appoint the next-of-kin, such as the deceased person's adult child or spouse. If a person dies without a will or estate plan, state intestacy laws dictate how the assets will be distributed, including who among the family members will receive the assets and so on.

Can anyone apply for the Letters of Administration in Singapore?

If a person passes away without leaving a will, the following people may apply for the letters of administration, according to Singapore’s law.

  • Spouse
  • Children
  • Parents
  • Sisters and brothers
  • Nieces and nephews
  • Grandparents
  • Aunts and uncles

Individuals who are newborns or bankrupt are not eligible to be appointed as administrators. Similarly, If the person receiving the estate is under 21 years old, the law requires two administrators to be chosen.

If the person applying for the grant is a child, juvenile or those with mental illnesses, their legal guardian can apply on their behalf. The same rules apply to anyone who is responsible for managing their affairs, including their legal guardian.

When is the ideal time to request the Letters of Administration?

During the interview process, it is important to have a face-to-face meeting with potential family lawyers. Over the phone, it can be challenging to get a sense of someone than it is in person.

When an individual passes away without creating a will, it is often the ideal time to apply for a Grant of Letters of Administration. To legally administer the estate of the deceased, one must complete the application form correctly, collect the necessary documents, and have the application accepted by the Court.

If there is a will, there are circumstances where you must apply for a Grant of Letters of Administration, but the executor also fails in certain circumstances like:

  • In the will, the deceased did not name an executor.
  • The deceased's chosen executor has declined to use his / her power to administer and divide the estate.
  • The designated executor dies before the testator.
  • Before obtaining probate or managing the balance of the decedent's estate, the executor passes away.
  • The executor disappears and neglects to get the Grant of Probate.

How do I obtain the Letters of Administration in Singapore?

Talk to the Family Members of the Deceased

Before requesting the letters of administration of the estate, the applicant should consult with the beneficiaries of the deceased person's estate or family members. These individuals are typically the best sources for identifying the assets that form part of the estate.

Assemble the necessary paperwork

The following papers should be gathered since they include the details required to acquire the letters:

  • The death record of the deceased
  • Insurance contracts
  • Evidence of investments
  • Evidence of debt
  • Insurance contracts
  • A copy of the property title
  • Financial account documentation

Submit the required Application Form

A petition for the letters of administration must be submitted after obtaining all necessary documentation.

Show up in Court

During a court hearing, the grant is reviewed and approved, and the judge evaluates the applicant's request to ensure that it meets all requirements.

Eventually, the court grants the request and issues the letters of administration after verifying the information offered by the applicant and determining their eligibility to act as an administrator.

Where should the estate's money be kept?

It's a good idea to create a separate "estate account" with a bank, regardless of the size of the estate, so that any transactions related to the administration of the estate may be properly documented.

Beneficiaries have the right to request in court that the executor or administrator give them a copy of the estate accounts as well as a complete inventory of the estate.

Our skilled probate lawyers at Exodus Law Corporation will help you through the duties associated with letters of administration, probate, or wills. Our letters of the administration and probate application procedure is simple and reasonably priced.