If the deceased has died domiciled in any of the Commonwealth Countries or Hong Kong (outside Singapore) with assets in Singapore, and you (or your clients) have already obtained a Grant of Representation from a probate court (similar court or authority) in that jurisdiction of his domicile (eg. UK, Scotland, Australia), you may apply for that Grant to be resealed by the High Court. Upon resealing of the foreign Grant, the legal representative may deal with the deceased’s assets in Singapore.
Grant of Representation is usually called a Grant of Letters of Administration (intestate, i.e. without a valid Will), Grant of Probate (testate, i.e. with WIll), Confirmation (in Scotland) or by whatever name called in that foreign jurisdiction. If the application to the Singapore Court is successful, the Singapore Court will issue a Memorandum of Resealing.
By the process of resealing, the legal representatives of the deceased need not apply for a fresh Grant of Probate or Letters of Administration (as the case may be), and the foreign grant shall be of like force and effect and have the same operation in Singapore as if granted by the Singapore Court to the applicants. This does not however mean that the foreign grant is converted to a Singapore Grant or that the Singapore Court is issuing a fresh grant. The Singapore Court is merely extending the validity of the foreign grant to Singapore.
Example (Fictitious and Strictly for Illustration Only)
John died testate (with valid Will) and domiciled in England and Wales, and had assets in the UK and Singapore. In his last Will, he appointed his wife Mary as his executor, and Mary as the sole executor applied and obtained a Grant of Probate in the Probate Court in London (“England Grant of Probate“). John’s assets included a bank deposit of SGD100,000.00 with HSBC in Singapore. As England is one of the Commonwealth Countries where he died domiciled in (his permanent home), Mary has the option of resaling the England Grant of Probate in Singapore in accordance with the laws of Singapore and the Court’s prescribed procedures.
Mary also has the option of applying for a fresh Grant of Probate in the relevant Singapore Court in accordance with the prescribed Court’s rules and procedures for application of Grant of Probate for Non-Singapore domiciled deceased.
Please note that contrary to popular belief, resealing is not simply to bring to the Singapore High Court to stamp without any process. Depending on the nature of the foreign Grant and the country in which the Grant was obtained, the Singapore Probate Lawyers will have to review, vet and peruse the foreign Grant and file all prescribed documents strictly in accordance with relatively elaborate rules, procedures and practice directions of the Court.
Loh Eben Ong’s Probate Practice Group has assisted in numerous Singapore resealing cases, including assisting the clients of law practices in Commonwealth Countries and Hong Kong SAR.