Family Justice Courts Practice Directions

View on Github
View on Github

Part XII – Probate Proceedings

62. Applications for grant of probate or letters of administration

Filing of originating summons and supporting documents

(1) An application for the grant of probate or letters of administration made under rule 208 of the Family Justice Rules shall be made by originating summons with supporting affidavit. The supporting affidavit shall exhibit a Statement in Form 51 in Appendix A of these Practice Directions, a certified true copy of the will and other supporting papers.

(2) Prior to filing the originating summons, the applicant must conduct a litigation search in the record of caveats and the record of probate applications and endorse a certificate in Form 52 in Appendix A to these Practice Directions on the originating summons. The search reports shall be annexed to the originating summons.

(3) For deaths occurring before 1 January 2015, the applicant is required to annex the search reports from the Supreme Court, Family Justice Courts and State Courts. For deaths occurring on or after 1 January 2015, the applicant is required to annex the search reports from the Family Justice Courts. The applicant is required to annex the search reports for the year in which the application for a grant is filed as well as the search reports for the years that the litigation search indicates there were applications or caveats filed with respect to the estate.

(4) The originating summons and the Statement shall be submitted by entering the relevant information in the appropriate electronic form. The following documents shall be submitted at the same time as the originating summons and Statement –

(a) a certified true copy of the death certificate of the deceased or a certified true copy of the Order of Court for presumption of death of the deceased;

(b) where there is a Will, a certified true copy of the Will. (The certified true copy of the Will shall contain the certification “This is a certified true copy of the original Will of [name of deceased] dated [date].” on a covering page that is to be attached to the copy of the Will.); and

(c) in the case of a resealing of a grant, a sealed certified true copy of the foreign grant.

(5) Once the originating summons, Statement, certified true copy of the death certificate and certified true copy of the Will/foreign grant are filed, an electronic filing checklist will be generated and a provisional reference number will be issued. The following supporting documents (whichever may be relevant) must then be filed using the electronic filing checklist:

(a) in the case of Muslim estates, a certified true copy of the inheritance certificate;

(b) in relation to deaths occurring on or after 15 February 2008, a Schedule of Assets listing the property comprising the estate of the deceased in accordance with Paragraph 67 of these Practice Directions (if available); and

(c) any other documents in support of the originating summons required under the Probate and Administration Act (Cap. 251), the Family Justice Rules or by the Court.

(The administration oath under section 28 of the Probate and Administration Act may, however, be filed at the same time as the supporting affidavit under rule 208 of the Family Justice Rules as required by Paragraph 63.)

(6) The electronic filing checklist will indicate the status of the documents filed. It will be the means by which the Court indicates whether any further or corrective action is required on the part of the applicant. The provisional reference number allows for the easy referencing and monitoring of the electronic filing checklist during the initial phase of filing.

(7) The original Will, original foreign grant or sealed certified true copy of the foreign grant (if any,) must be submitted to the Probate Counter by 4.30 p.m. of the next working day after the filing of the originating summons for verification. Where the original Will has been retained in the custody of a foreign court, a certified true copy of the Will by that foreign court must be filed and submitted for verification in place of the original.

(8) The Probate Counter will return the original Will, original foreign grant or sealed certified true copy of the foreign grant to the applicant after verifying that the certified true copy of the document in the court file is an exact copy of the original document submitted.

(9) When the Court is satisfied that the originating summons, Statement and the supporting documents have been properly filed and verified, a probate number will be issued in place of the provisional reference number. This probate number will be tied to the same electronic filing checklist.

Rejection of documents

(10) The Court may reject any document through the electronic filing checklist or through any other means if there are errors or if the document does not comply with the Family Justice Rules, the Practice Directions, or any other directions made by the Court.

63. Filing of supporting affidavit

(1) Rule 208(2) of the Family Justice Rules provides that the Statement, which is filed together with an originating summons for the grant of probate or letters of administration, must be verified by an affidavit of the applicant. The supporting affidavit under rule 208 of the Family Justice Rules (hereafter referred to as the “supporting affidavit”) shall be in the prescribed format in Form 225 in Appendix A of these Practice Directions.

(2) The following documents must be exhibited to the supporting affidavit:

(a) the Statement bearing the court seal, which shall be the first exhibit;

(b) the Schedule of Assets referred to in Paragraph 62(5)(b) above (if available) which shall be the second exhibit; and

(c) other supporting documents referred to Paragraph 62(4) and (5).

(3) Administration oaths, affidavits, consents of co-administrators and renunciations which have been filed are not required to be exhibited to the supporting affidavit.

(4) The supporting affidavit shall be filed using the electronic filing checklist within 14 days after the filing of the originating summons.

64. Amendment of originating summons or statement

(1) Where a party seeks to rectify any error in the originating summons, an application may be made by way of a summons to amend the originating summons. The draft amended originating summons in PDF format shall be annexed to the summons.

(2) Prior to the order for the grant, where a party seeks to rectify, without leave of court, any error in the Statement, and corresponding amendments are not required to be made to the originating summons, he may do so by amending the information in the electronic form of the Statement. An affidavit stating the reasons for the amendment shall be filed with the amended Statement.

(3) Where it is necessary to amend the information in the Statement after an order is made for the grant, an application must be made by way of summons. The draft amended Statement in PDF format shall be annexed to the summons.

(4) Where an order has been made for the grant of letters of administration and a party seeks to substitute the name of an administrator or add in further administrators, an application must be made by way of a summons for —

(a) the order to be set aside and for a re-grant where a grant has not been issued, or

(b) the grant to be revoked and for a re-grant where a grant has been issued.

(5) The draft amended originating summons and the draft amended Statement in PDF format must be annexed to the summons.

(6) When preparing a draft amended originating summons or draft amended Statement in PDF format, the changes to be made to the latest version of the document filed in Court should be indicated by —

(a) drawing a single line across the words to be deleted; and

(b) underlining the words to be inserted.

(7) An application by way of summons for the amendment of an originating summons or a Statement must be supported by an affidavit stating the reasons for the amendment.

(8) Where an order-in-terms is made of the application for leave to amend or for setting aside or revocation, the party shall, within 14 days of the order or such time as may be permitted in the order, file the amended originating summons and the amended Statement by entering the date of the order and the relevant amendments in the appropriate electronic forms. A fresh supporting affidavit under rule 208 of the Family Justice Rules verifying the amended Statement must be filed by the applicant within 14 days of the order or within the time directed by the Court.

(9) The new grant shall not be extracted until after the amended originating summons, amended Statement and supporting affidavit have been filed.

65. Affidavits of Foreign Law

(1) Where evidence of the law of a country outside Singapore is required on any application for a grant, the affidavit of any person who practises, or has practised, as a barrister or advocate in that country and who is conversant with its law is to be filed using the electronic filing checklist at the time the checklist is generated.

(2) For an application for a grant of probate, the person making the affidavit of foreign law should state –

(a) who is entrusted with the administration of the estate by the court having jurisdiction at the place where the deceased died domiciled or who is entitled to administer the estate by the law of the place where the deceased died domiciled; and

(b) whether the will was properly executed in accordance with section 5 of the Wills Act (Cap. 352).

(3) For an application for a grant of letters of administration, the person making the affidavit of foreign law should state –

(a) who is entrusted with the administration of the estate by the court having jurisdiction at the place where the deceased died domiciled or who is entitled to administer the estate by the law of the place where the deceased died domiciled;

(b) who are the beneficiaries of the estate in accordance with the law of the place where the deceased died domiciled; and

(c) the shares of the minor beneficiaries (if any) in accordance with the law of the place where the deceased died domiciled.

(4) For an application for a grant of letters of administration with will annexed, the person making the affidavit of foreign law should state the information required in sub- paragraphs (2) and (3).

66. Filing of schedules of property for non-dutiable estates where death occurred before 15 February 2008

(1) In addition to the procedures and Forms SC1 to SC8 issued by the Commissioner of Estate Duties [which are available on the Inland Revenue Authority of Singapore website (http://www.iras.gov.sg)], the following Directions shall apply in cases where the death occurred before 15 February 2008 and no estate duty is payable:

(a) the executor or administrator must first determine, based on the relevant checklist (Form SC2 or SC3), that estate duty is not payable on the estate;

(b) upon confirmation that estate duty is not payable, the executor or administrator shall then file a statutory declaration (Form SC1) together with the checklist (Form SC2 or SC3);

(c) the schedule of property must also be sworn or affirmed before a Commissioner for Oaths and filed together with the statutory declaration (Form SC1) and checklist (Form SC2 or SC3). In cases where the deceased died domiciled in Singapore, Form SC4 shall be used. In cases where the deceased died domiciled outside Singapore, Form SC5 shall be used;

(d) if a supplementary schedule of property needs to be subsequently filed for additional property or value omitted in the original submission, this shall be in Form SC6 or SC7 (for deceased domiciled in and outside Singapore respectively) and sworn or affirmed before a Commissioner for Oaths, provided that the total value of the estate remains non-dutiable; and

(e) if there are any amendments to the schedule of property or supplementary schedule of property, this shall be filed in Form SC8.

(2) All the above Forms SC1 to SC8 must be printed or typed. No supporting documents are to be attached to the above Forms.

67. Filing of schedule of assets for estates where death occurs on or after 15 February 2008

(1) In relation to deaths occurring on or after 15 February 2008, a Schedule of Assets listing the property comprising the estate of the deceased must be filed by entering the relevant information into the electronic form.

(2) A specimen Schedule of Assets can be found in Form 226 in Appendix A of these Practice Directions.

(3) If the Schedule of Assets is filed at the time of the filing of the originating summons or at the time of the filing of the supporting affidavit under rule 208 of the Family Justice Rules (hereafter referred to as the “supporting affidavit”), the Schedule of Assets may be included as an exhibit to the supporting affidavit. If so included, the supporting affidavit shall include the following averment:

“The contents of the Schedule of Assets exhibited herein as (insert exhibit number) are true and accurate in every particular to the best of my knowledge and belief. The deponent does not know or have any reason to believe that any of the contents of the Schedule of Assets is false.”

(4) If an applicant is unable to file the Schedule of Assets at the time of the filing of the originating summons or at the time of the filing of supporting affidavit, the applicant may subsequently file the Schedule of Assets and an affidavit containing the averment referred to in sub-paragraph (3) above. The affidavit should be filed under the document title “Schedule of Assets – Supplementary Affidavit”.

(5) Prior to the issuance of a grant, an applicant may file an amended Schedule and a supplementary affidavit exhibiting the amended Schedule of Assets. The supplementary affidavit shall provide reasons to explain why an amendment is necessary, and shall also include the averment referred to in sub-paragraph (3) above.

(6) Where the amendments to the Schedule of Assets are sought after the issuance of a grant, the applicant must obtain leave of Court to amend the Schedule of Assets. The application for leave to amend shall be made by way of summons. The draft amended Schedule of Assets in PDF format shall be annexed to the summons. The changes to be made to the latest version of the Schedule of Assets filed in Court should be indicated by —

(a) drawing a single line across the words to be deleted; and

(b) underlining the words to be inserted.

68. Security for grants of letters of administration

(1) A grantee of letters of administration, whether with or without a Will annexed, from a Family Court shall give security for the due administration of the estate by way of an administration bond and 2 sureties in the following circumstances:

(a) where the estate and effects in respect of which the grant is applied for, exclusive of what the deceased was possessed of or entitled to as a trustee and not beneficially, but without deducting anything on account of the debts due or owing from the deceased, exceed the value of $5 million;

(b) where there is a minority interest in the estate;

(c) where there is a life interest in the estate;

(d) where there are beneficiaries who lack capacity within the meaning of the Mental Capacity Act (Cap. 177A);

(e) where the grantee is a creditor; and

(f) in such other cases as the Registrar thinks fit.

(2) Sureties must not use protected property under section 51 of the Housing and Development Act (Cap. 129) for the purpose of justification.

69. Applications for dispensation of sureties for grants of letters of administration

(1) An application for the dispensation of sureties pursuant to section 29(3) of the Probate and Administration Act (Cap. 251) shall be made by way of a summons supported by an affidavit deposed to by all the administrators and co-administrators (if any) stating the following:

(a) the date of the death of the deceased;

(b) the efforts made to find sureties and/or why sureties cannot be found;

(c) where death occurred before 15 February 2008, that estate duty has been paid, is not payable, has been postponed or has otherwise been cleared;

(d) who the beneficiaries are, their shares to the estate, ages, and whether the adult beneficiaries consent to the dispensation;

(e) whether there are beneficiaries who are minors or beneficiaries who lack capacity within the meaning of the Mental Capacity Act (Cap. 177A), the names of such beneficiaries, the relationship of the administrators and co- administrators (if any) to such beneficiaries and the steps that will be taken to protect the interests of such beneficiaries;

(f) whether the estate has any creditors for debts not secured by mortgage, the amount of the debt owed to them, and whether these creditors consent to the dispensation; and

(g) any other information which may be relevant to the application.

(2) In cases where estate duty is payable on the estate, a letter or certificate from the Commissioner of Estate Duties confirming the fact stated in sub-paragraph (1)(c) must be exhibited in the supporting affidavit.

(3) In cases where death occurred before 15 February 2008 and no estate duty is payable on the estate, the administrator(s) must state in the affidavit that no estate duty is payable and that the Schedule of Property Forms have been forwarded to the Court.

(4) The consents in writing of all adult beneficiaries to the dispensation of sureties, duly signed in the presence of a solicitor or any person before whom an affidavit can be sworn or affirmed, shall be filed with the application for dispensation of sureties.

70. Caveat and probate application searches to be conducted when requesting to extract grant

(1) Prior to filing a request to extract a grant, the applicant or his solicitors must conduct a litigation search in the record of caveats and the record of probate applications to ascertain if there are any caveats in force or pending probate applications in respect of the estate of the deceased.

(2) The search reports shall be annexed to the request to extract a grant.

(3) For deaths occurring before 1 January 2015, the applicant is required to annex the search reports from the Supreme Court, Family Justice Courts and State Courts. For deaths occurring on or after 1 January 2015, the applicant is required to annex the search reports from the Family Justice Courts. The applicant is required to annex the search reports for the year in which the request to extract a grant is filed as well as the search reports for the years that the litigation search indicates there were applications or caveats filed with respect to the estate.

(4) The request to extract a grant shall contain the certificate in accordance with rule 237(3) of the Family Justice Rules.

71. Amended grants and re-grants

(1) For a petition for the grant of probate or letters of administration filed before 15 December 2003, where an order has been made for —

(a) the amendment of a grant; or

(b) a grant to be revoked and re-granted,

the grantee shall file 2 copies of a fresh grant for signing and sealing at the Registry.

(2) The fresh grant shall be printed on good quality beige coloured paper (100 gsm). The grantee shall indicate on the fresh grant “Grant (Amendment No. 1)” or “Grant (Re- grant No. 1)” or as appropriate.

(3) The practice of releasing the original grant in the court file for the grantee to make amendments thereon shall be discontinued.

(4) In all cases where an order is made for a grant to be revoked and re-granted, the grantee shall bring into and leave at the Registry the original grant.

Powered by