What to do when a family member passes away?
Our condolences for your loss.
First of all, you should contact banks and insurance companies to ascertain the bank accounts and insurance policies your deceased family member has under his/her name. You can also engage a lawyer to assist you and your family in writing to the various banks and insurance companies in Singapore.
If the deceased is a Singapore citizen or permanent resident, you do not need to report the death to CPF Board. The CPF Board will be notified by the relevant public agency and will distribute the deceased’s CPF savings.
If the deceased is a foreigner with a CPF Account, you need to report the death to CPF Board. Otherwise, CPF Board will be notified by the relevant public agency and upon being notified, CPF Board will distribute the deceased’s CPF savings.
If the deceased has a valid CPF nomination, CPF Board will get in touch with the deceased’s nominees on the payment of CPF monies.
If the deceased did not make a CPF nomination, the CPF Savings will be paid to the Public Trustee for distribution in accordance with the Intestate Succession Act (For non-Muslims) and Administration of Muslim Law Act (For Muslims).
Banks Accounts and Credit Cards Companies
Banks Accounts and Credit Cards Companies
You should notify the banks where the deceased had bank accounts with, so that arrangements can be made for future cheques, mortgage payments, bills paid by interbank GIRO payments and/or other transactions.
If necessary, you should inform the respective companies to cancel any GIRO arrangement.
You should also check with the banks for any outstanding credit card bills owing from the deceased.
You should inform the relevant insurance companies to process the deceased’s pay-outs. If the deceased has a valid nomination, the pay-outs will be in accordance with the deceased’s nominations. If the deceased did not make any nominations, the pay-outs will be in accordance with the Intestate Succession Act.
Second of all, you should find out if the deceased made a will.
Grant of Probate
If the deceased made a will, you should inform the deceased’s lawyer and obtain the deceased person’s will. The person named as the “Executor” in the will should take up a Grant of Probate in the Courts in order to distribute the Estate in accordance with the deceased’s will.
A Grant of Probate is an application to the Family Justice Courts (If gross value of the Estate does not exceed $3 million) or the Family Division of the High Court (If gross value of the Estate exceeds $3 million). You can consult a lawyer from any private law firm to apply for a Grant of Probate./p>
However, in the unlikely event that there is no Executor named in the Will, the Court would usually allow Letters of Administration with Will annexed to be granted. You should consult a lawyer to make such application on your behalf.
Letters of Administration
If a person passes away without a will, his/her closest next-of-kin is required to get Letters of Administration in order to administer and distribute the Estate in accordance to the Intestate Succession Act (For non-Muslims) and Administration of Muslim Law Act (For Muslims).
Any next-of-kin of the deceased can be appointed to be the administrator of the Estate, provided that he/she is not a bankrupt or a person below the age of 21.
In the event that one or more beneficiaries of the Estate is below the age of 21, at least two (2) administrators must be appointed. This is to ensure that the interests of the infant beneficiaries are protected.
However, each and every party with the priority in law to apply for Letters of Administrations may have to renounce his/her right to do so by signing a renunciation.
In terms of distribution, the order of priority is as follows (highest to lowest):-
- Surviving spouse;
- Child(ren) of the deceased;
- Brothers and sisters;
- Nephews and nieces;
- Uncles and Aunts;
As the paperwork required in an application for Letters of Administration can be quite voluminous, you should engage a lawyer to make the application on your behalf.
For more information, please contact us for a free initial consultation and quotation on our legal fees.
Written by Tracy Wang, Associate, Golden Law LLC