Singapore Wills FAQ

Singapore Wills FAQ

Find out more about making a Will in Singapore with this Singapore Wills FAQ Section by Loh Eben Ong LLP, Singapore Lawyers and Law Firm. For our Fee for Will drafting, please submit our Wills Online Quote. If you wish to engage Loh Eben Ong LLP to prepare your Will, please submit our Wills Online. Singapore Wills FAQ. Singapore Wills FAQ. Singapore Wills FAQ. Singapore Wills FAQ. Singapore Wills FAQ.

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General (11)

If a foreign domiciled person dies intestate:

  • his movable property that is located in Singapore will be distributed according to the laws of the country in which he was domiciled at the time of his death
  • his immovable property located in Singapore will be distributed according to the laws of Singapore, regardless of where he was domiciled at the time of his death.
Categories: General, Wills

If a person dies without leaving a will, the distribution of his/her assets in Singapore will be governed by Singapore intestacy law.

A will does not need to be governed by Singapore law to be recognised as a valid will in Singapore. However, it is generally recommended to have a Singapore will covering Singapore assets.

Categories: General, Wills

Some do not wish to think about death. Surprisingly enough, making a Will does not bring your death forward. If you make your Will now, you will have less worry about how your Assets will be distributed.

Some think they have nothing to leave to their love ones – if you own your own home, monies in bank accounts, cars, jewelleries, etc, you should consider making a Will. It all adds up to some value.

Categories: General, Wills

You should state the person(s) or organisation(s) to whom you wish to give away your property and assets. For example, you may give away your house, car, shares, insurance policies, bank accounts, cash and jewellery to family members, friends or to charities.

Categories: General, Wills

Unless you are making specific gift to certain person, you need not state or list out your assets in your Will.

However, it is good practice to have an Inventory List of your Assets and Liabilities attached to your Last Will, so that your Executor will know what your Assets comprised of. You should also update your Inventory List from time to time to reflect changes to your asset list.

Categories: General, Wills

This is a question of preference, and usually, a person may be influenced by the apparent lower costs offered by non-legal firms in offering Will drafting services.

In fact, the costs of a Will drafted by professional law firms are usually not more than a couple of hundreds of dollars (for relatively straightforward Will), and the law firm will usually have 1 or 2 lawyers witnessing the Testator’s signature to the Will. Such solicitor’s witnesses may be useful in the event of issues relating to the Testator’s signature to the Will or where there are disputes surrounding the Will.

Upon the death of the Testator, the personal representative(s) of the Testator may appoint a law firm to act in the Administration of the estate, and that law firm will usually advise the personal representative(s) to advertise in the Law Society Gazette (circulated to practising solicitors only) for any Will previously prepared by other law firm(s) for the testator to contact that law firm.

Categories: General, Wills

What happens if my spouse and me passed away simultaneously? eg. a plane crash scenario, where it was not known who died first.

In the event of simultaneous death, the older is deemed to have died first. The following examples may illustrate the various scenario (not exhaustive) and effects.

Example 1: Where you and your spouse have made identical Wills and give the whole of the Estate to the other

If you are the older spouse, it is deemed that you died first, and therefore your estate will go to your spouse’s estate under your Will and will be distributed under your spouse’s Will.

Example 2: Where I have made a Will and my spouse has not made a Will, and I have given my estate or part of which to my spouse?

If you are the older spouse, it is deemed that you died first, and therefore the share in which your spouse will take under your Will will go to his/her estate. As your spouse did not make a Will, his/her estate will be distributed in accordance with the Intestate Succession Act and not according to his/her wishes had a Will being made.

Categories: General, Wills

Singapore Wills need not be registered in Singapore with any authority to be valid. However, you may wish to submit your Will information at the confidential Wills Registry, Insolvency and Public Trustee’s Office of Singapore by paying the relevant fee (wef 1 March 2014, S$50), which merely contains brief particulars of your Will such as date of Will, but not the contents. Your original Will or copy thereof cannot be deposited at the Wills Registry. To deposit your Will information at the Wills Registry, please login to

Categories: General, Wills

It is unfortunate that we are unable to take instructions from Muslims who intend to make a Will as we do not practise Syariah Laws. Please consult a Singapore Lawyer who does practise Syariah Laws.

Categories: General, Wills

A Will is a written document that states who you want your assets and money (“the estate”) to go to when you passed away. As it is a very important document the law specifies what will be recognised as a Will. It is a temporary document and can be changed at any time by a subsequent Will or a Codicil during your lifetime.

It does not distribute your assets immediately upon the making of the Will, but takes effect after your demise (death).

Categories: General, Wills

Based on our experience, it is common for Testators (including Singapore Citizens and Singapore Domiciled) to make a Singapore Will covering worldwide assets, as it is convenient to do so.

Even if a Testator does not have any assets outside Singapore, it is common to state in his Will that he is disposing worldwide assets, in the event he has such assets at the time of his death.

For example, he may not have any assets in Malaysia at the moment, but upon his death, he might have RM100,000 in a bank account in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia.

In essence, a Singapore Will can cover the Testator’s worldwide assets, including Singapore, which is common scenario for Singapore Citizens and Permanent Resident. However, this doesn’t necessarily mean that a Singapore will would necessarily be recognised by a foreign jurisdictio in which the property is situated, either for the purposes of dealing with property there and/or for succession purposes. In certain foreign jurisdictions, there may be forced heirship, or for immovable properties (real estate), the foreign law may be applicable for succession purposes.

A Testator may do a Singapore Will covering worldwide assets first, and later on, he may after having gotten legal advice, do another Will in the country in which a specific asset is situated covering only the assets in that country. In making a later Will in another country, if he wishes to retain the validity of the Singapore Will for assets in certain juridictions, he should not revoke his Singapore Will and careful drafting on the later Will is of paramount importance.

There is no simple answer to the question of whether a foreign jurisdiction will “accept” a Singapore will. There are a number of different elements to consider, for example:

  • Will the jurisdiction accept the formal validity of the will?
  • Will the jurisdiction accept the substantive terms of the will? A jurisdiction may accept that a will is formally valid, but refuse to accept the substantive validity of its terms to the extent that they conflict with forced heirship provisions. Some jurisdictions apply different rules to movable and immovable assets
  • What are the procedures for recognising a foreign will? A jurisdiction may accept that a will is formally and substantively valid, but the procedures for recognising this may be so complicated that it is preferable to make a local will for this reason alone

If you have foreign assets or may have them in the future, please note that we may not be able to advise you on foreign succession laws relating to your assets situated overseas, or the applicability of the Singapore Will for used in any foreign jurisdiction. You should consult a lawyer in that jurisdiction where the asset is situated.

CAUTION: Note that this FAQ is for general guidance and information and provided on “as is” basis, and not to provide any legal advice whatsoever. The contents herein may contain errors and/or inaccuracies. You should always seek professional advice on your legal scenario.

Categories: General, Wills
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CPF Funds (4)

If you have a valid CPF Nomination, the following items will be distributed to your Nominees in the proportion as stated in your Nomination upon your death:

  1. Savings in the Ordinary, Special, Medisave and Retirement Accounts;
  2. Dependants’ Protection Scheme (DPS) insured sum;
  3. Discounted Singapore Telecom shares;
  4. Fixed deposits under the CPF Investment Scheme – Special Account (CPFIS-SA), which will be converted to cash to form part of CPF savings; and
  5. Economic Restructuring Shares (ERS), which will be converted to cash to form part of CPF savings.

The following items are not covered by CPF Nomination but instead form part of your estate:

  1. Cash and investments held in the CPF Investment Account under the CPF Investment Scheme-Ordinary Account (CPFIS-OA);
  2. Investments held under CPF Investment Scheme-Special Account (CPFIS-SA), excluding fixed deposits;
  3. Properties bought with CPF savings;
  4. Shares bought under the DelGro Shares Scheme; and
  5. New Singapore Shares (NSS).

Caution Note: the above may not be accurate as at the date of your reading.

Categories: CPF Funds, Wills

Yes, you still need to nominate because the distribution of your CPF savings, DPS sum insured, shares in an approved corporation, fixed deposits under CPFIS-SA and ERS, is by way of nomination.

Categories: CPF Funds, Wills

Divorce does not revoke your previous nomination. This is because you may still wish to provide for your ex-spouses and children. You may therefore wish to re-nominate when divorce takes place.

Categories: CPF Funds, Wills

If you have made a nomination under the CPF Act, your nominee shall be entitled to the funds in certain CPF accounts regardless of what is stated in your Will. If you have not made a nomination, your funds will be distributed under the law in accordance with the Intestate Succession Act.

Even if you have a Will, you need to nominate so that your CPF savings, DPS insured sum, Discounted Singapore Telecom shares, fixed deposits under CPF Investment Scheme-Special Account (CPFIS-SA) and Economic Restructuring Shares (ERS) will be paid to your nominees.

If you get married after making a nomination, your nomination made before marriage is automatically cancelled, unless you say that it was made in contemplation of marriage.

Therefore, you should nominate when:

  1. You start working and contributing to the CPF
  2. You marry as marriage makes any previous nomination invalid
  3. You re-marry or if there is a change in your marital status.
Categories: CPF Funds, Wills
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Post Wills (5)

Having made a Will, if your family members or your named Executor(s) do not know that you have made a Will or how to locate it, this will defeat the whole purpose of making a Will. It is therefore important to inform your Executor(s) and/or your close ones of the whereabouts of your original Will.

If you have engaged a lawyer to prepare your Will, you may also request your lawyer to lodge at the Wills Registry of the Public Trustee Department a requisite form. The form states brief particulars of your Will (without its contents), so that upon your death, your personal representatives can make a search at the Wills Registry on whether you have made a Will. This will facilitate your family members in locating your Will or finding out whether you have made one.

Categories: Post Wills, Wills

If you marry or re-marry, your Willi is nullified or cancelled unless the Will was made in contemplation of your marriage.

You should review your Will if any of the following event happens:

  1. if you change your name or anyone mentioned in the Will changes his
  2. if an executor or trustee dies or becomes unsuitable to act due to age or ill-health
  3. if a beneficiary dies
  4. if you subsequently sell or part with any property mentioned in the Will
  5. if there is any significant change in circumstances, for example, when you acquire property or assets which have not been mentioned in your Will

It is advisable to review your Will regularly or where there is changes to your personal circumstances.

Categories: Post Wills, Wills

You should never attempt to change your Will by crossing parts out or adding words in or by attaching anything to it. If you do so your Will may become ineffective or invalid. If you wish to change your Will, either make a fresh Will to revoke and supersede the earlier Will or prepare a Supplemental Will (“a Codicil”).

Categories: Post Wills, Wills

Your Will only takes effect upon your death, and not before. Upon your death, your Executor(s) will have to apply to Court for a Grant of Probate.or death occuring prior to 15 February 2008, the Court will only issue the Grant after the Estate Duty Officer has certified the following:

  1. the value of your estate;
    1. rhe amount of estate duty payable and the fact that it has been paid; or
    2. that no estate duty is payable.

However, the Executor(s) have the power by virtue of your Will to act even before the Grant is issued. For example, your executors may pay or release debts and transfer property or assets, such as your car. But it is necessary to obtain the approval of the Commissioner for Estate Duty (deaths occurring prior to 15 February 2008) when dealing with landed property or major assets. In this case, it is also necessary to get a copy of the Grant of Probate.

Once the Grant of Probate is issued, the Will becomes a public document. The original Will is retained by the Court. The Executor(s) will be given a copy of the Will together with the Grant. All your property and assets will then pass to your Executor(s), who will have the responsibility of administering and distributing the estate according to the instructions in your Will.

Categories: Post Wills, Wills

Will Registry is part of the Insolvency and Public Trustee’s Office of Singapore, and is a confidential registry depository for Willl information. If you have made a Will, you may wish to submit your Will information at the confidential Wills Registry by paying the relevant fee (wef 1 March 2014, S$50), which merely contains brief particulars of your Will such as date of Will, but not the contents. Your original Will or copy thereof cannot be deposited at the Wills Registry. To deposit your Will information at the Wills Registry, please login to

Categories: Post Wills, Wills
Singapore Wills FAQ

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