Here to guide you every step of the way to solve your probate matters.
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With 18 years of experience in probate cases,
Gerald has a wide range of practice in:
Litigation (where his advice takes into account different aspects of law because legal issues are more often than not intertwined with other areas of law)
We are able to cut to the chase for a quick and accurate and cost-effective application. We understand that you want results, fast. For seamless applications in the more complex cases where the deceased was domiciled overseas, we are able to work with foreign lawyers to advise them on our family court’s requirements.
We provide affordable and timely advice and services in relation to the following, whether you are preparing your estate for an ease of mind; or dealing with a late family member estates, whether or not a will had been prepared:
Extraction of grant of probate for families of deceased persons with will
Extraction of grant of letters of administration for families of deceased persons without will
Please make an appointment with us with the original will (where possible) with the executors who will need their original NRIC with them.
The court may sometimes accept copies of wills for cases where the original copy is unavailable. But if there is no will, we apply for Letters of Administration. The process is roughly the same but with more documentation and court requirements. Most notably, the court will require an administration bond, which is like financial security provided to the court with a promise to administer the assets correctly. We usually apply to the court to do away with this requirement.
For defective wills, we will proceed with Letters of Administration which will be annexed, unless there is a total failure of the will. Having said that, it may be that Letters of Administration is not necessary considering the assets to be distributed in the sense that some assets may be transferred without the assets being specified. Most, however, such as immovable property, will require the asset to be specified in a Schedule of Assets.
What is Probate?
While probate may be thought of as the court simply declaring who is in charge of the estate of a person who has passed away, it can, in fact, be a complex area of practice involving a combination of different pieces of legislation such as the Intestate Succession Act, Probate and Administration Act, Supreme Court of Judicature Act, Evidence Act and several others working together at the same time.
Often, the notoriously complex land laws and conveyancing issues or corporate laws crop up and have to be resolved in conjunction with the probate application. What seems to be a straightforward application to the untrained eye may be anything but straightforward.
2. How much will it cost?
While different types of cases may vary in costs, sometimes involving costs of foreign lawyers as well, the cost will typically be between $3,000 and $5,000.
3. What is the duration like?
It can be done as quick as 4 months, but depending on complexity, could take much longer.
4. What if there are other owners of immovable property?
Different types of property will be treated differently. For immovable property such as a flat, the most important difference will be whether the deceased owned the property as joint tenants with another person or as a share in as a tenant-in-common. If a joint tenant, a simple conveyance will transfer the property to the other joint tenant(s), whatever the will says. If a tenant-in-common, only this share will be transferred to the beneficiary. If mortgaged, the new owners will need to refinance the property. We can assist with all these issues.
5. What if a beneficiary does not want the asset?
This may be necessary if an asset is more of a liability or if refinancing cannot be obtained due to the financial situation of the beneficiary. Assets inherited can be transferred away. Hefty stamp duties may apply in some situations. We can assist with these issues.
6. Must I take out probate?
No. Some banks are willing to give the next-of-kin the balance in a bank account without probate if the sum is very small and you can show that you are a next-of-kin, usually the spouse or child of the deceased. If assets are of very little value, obtaining probate may cost even more.