Inheritance (Family Provision) Act

Inheritance (Family Provision) Act

This Act has 6 sections, and it regulates the disposition of estates of deceased persons for the benefit of surviving spouse or child if the court is in the opinion that they are disadvantaged by the terms of the will or intestacy laws.

Section 3: Power for court to order payment out of net estate of deceased for benefit of surviving spouse or child

A person dies domiciled in Singapore leaving dependants as defined as:

  1. A spouse (wife or husband)
  2. Infant son
  3. A son who is incapable of maintaining himself due to mental or physical disability
  4. An unmarried daughter or a daughter who is incapable of maintaining herself due to mental or physical disability

The deceased’s dependant can apply to the court for financial maintenance to be paid out from the deceased’s net-estate. If the court is of the opinion that the dependant is not reasonably provided for, it can order a pay-out from the net-estate of the deceased.

It is a noticeable point that the deceased’s elderly parents are not considered as dependants under this act.

The provision for maintenance to be made to the dependants last until:

  1. The spouse remarries.
  2. The son reaches 21 years old.
  3. In the case of a son under disability, the cesser of his disability.
  4. The daughter marries, or in the case of a daughter under disability, the cesser of her disability, whichever is the later.

Section 4: Time within which application must be made

The application has to be made within 6 months from the date on which letters of representation had been taken out by the personal representative. The court will also allow an extension of time if it deem fit.

Points to pay attention regarding this law:

The court will not grant the order on such an application as a matter of course. The court will weigh the evidence before it, especially the reason, if any, that it may determine had operated in the mind of the deceased when making provisions in the will. If the deceased dies intestate, then the conflicting interests of other beneficiaries would also be taken into consideration. The court will adopt an objective test (not a subjective one) in reference to the needs of a particular dependant.


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