The Intestate Succession Act (Cap. 146) governs the distribution of your estate when you die without a valid Will, i.e. you died intestate.

Before I share on the 9 rules of distribution, there are 3 conditions to note:

Firstly, the Intestate Succession Act applies to a person that dies domiciled in Singapore. To put it another way, he or she treats Singapore as the permanent home. At the same time, the Deceased possessed the rights to the use or benefit of property situated in Singapore. For this purpose, the property may be movable or immovable, or both.

Secondly, the Intestate Succession Act applies to a person domiciled outside Singapore and possessed the rights to the use or benefit of immovable property situated in Singapore. For example, an immovable property include land, benefits to arise out of land and things attached to the earth or permanently fastened to anything attached to the earth.

Finally, the Intestate Succession Act does not apply to any Muslim or shall affect any rules of the Muslim law in respect of the distribution of the estate of any such person.

Rule 1

Surviving: Spouse of the intestate

Absence: Issue (includes children and the descendants of the deceased children), Parent(s)

The spouse shall be entitled to the whole of the estate.

Rule 2

Surviving: Spouse, Issue, Parent(s)

The spouse shall be entitled to one-half of the estate. Accordingly, the issue shall be entitled to the other half of the estate in equal portions. In this case, the parent(s) of the intestate are not entitled to the estate.

SEE ALSO:  The Administrative Process on Dying without a Will in Singapore

Rule 3

Surviving: Issue, Parent(s)

Absence: Spouse

The issue shall be entitled to the whole of the estate in equal portions. Similar to Rule 2, the parent(s) of the intestate are not entitled to the estate.

Rule 4

Surviving: Spouse, Parent(s)

Absence: Issue

The spouse shall be entitled to one-half of the estate. Thereafter, the parent(s) shall be entitled to the other half of the estate in equal portions.

Rule 5

Surviving: Parent(s)

Absence: Spouse, Descendants

The parent(s) shall be entitled to the whole of the estate in equal portions.

Rule 6

Surviving: Brothers and Sisters, and children of deceased brothers and sisters

Absence: Spouse, Descendants, Parent

The brothers and sisters of the intestate shall be entitled to the whole of the estate in equal portions. Additionally, the children of any deceased brother or sister shall take according to their stocks the share which the deceased brother or sister would have taken.

Rule 7

Surviving: Grandparents of the intestate
Absence: Spouse, Descendants, Parents, Brothers and Sisters, children of such brothers and sisters

The grandparents shall be entitled to the whole of the estate in equal portions.

Rule 8

Surviving: Uncles and Aunts of the Intestate
Absence: Spouse, Descendants, Parents, Brothers and Sisters, children of such brothers and sisters, Grandparents

The uncles and aunts shall be entitled to the whole of the estate in equal portions.

Rule 9

In the event that the distribution under Rules 1 to 8 are defaulted, the Government shall be entitled to the whole of the estate.

Conclusion

On the whole, the rules of distribution according to the Intestate Succession Act may look fairly straightforward. However, I must highlight that this only occurs in the ending stages of wealth distribution. Before your family is able to inherit your assets, they have to undergo the lengthy administrative process to obtain a Letter of Administration. Furthermore, a third party may contest the distribution. This results in unnecessary delay to the distribution process.

SEE ALSO:  The Administrative Process on Dying without a Will in Singapore

Nevertheless, the Intestate Succession Act is your final voice in the absence of the Will; I just hope that this voice speaks for the your intended wishes in due time.

Thoughts of the Day 💭

  1. Do you feel secure with the Intestate Succession Act?
  2. Should you do estate planning only when you have huge wealth?
  3. Is a simple Will sufficient to speak for your wishes?

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