Allocating Your Overseas Assets in Your Singaporean Will
Preparing a will is tough enough. Add overseas assets into the mix and it can be a little more challenging. How do you include these assets in your Singapore will?
Can I Include Assets Abroad in My Will?
Yes, you can. People who prepare wills are called testators. In the case of assets abroad, a testator might prepare two different wills if it makes things easier.
It is possible that your will may not be recognised in other jurisdictions. When preparing your Singapore will, you must consider the following factors:
- Will your moveable assets be subjected to Singaporean laws?
- Will your immovable property be subjected to the local jurisdiction laws?
- What is the “resealing probate” within that jurisdiction?
Section 5 of the Wills Act states any will created in Singapore means moveable property mentioned in the will be subjected to Singapore law too. The moveable property includes money, cars, jewellery, and bank accounts. Let’s say at the time of your death, you have children dependent on you. The guardian will then apply for your children’s inheritance. The application will be under the Singapore Inheritance (Family Provision) Act. Once applied, the court will order that your moveable property overseas be used to pay for the maintenance of the children.
Also under Section 5, the immovable property will be subject to the local jurisdiction laws. This means your immovable property will be subject to the laws where it is located. Immovable property includes houses, condos, and land, for example. So, for example, if you make a Singapore will, your London-based property will be listed in the will. But that London property will be subject to the local laws in London. This means the beneficiary must continue paying the property taxes specified under London’s rules.
What Does Resealing Probate Mean?
Executioners of your Singapore will apply for a Grant of Probate (GoP) with the court. With a GoP, they can carry out your instructions in your will. But if your assets are in another jurisdiction, that jurisdiction needs to “reseal” it. In other words, they must give legal recognition to the GoP. Only then can the instructions about your overseas assets be executed.
Resealing probates require a separate court action though, which is an extra cost. This is one reason why separate wills might be easier and more cost-effective.
Other Factors to Consider
When preparing your will, you will need to consider:
- The local laws in each jurisdiction
- How time-consuming it might be to get a GoP
- How costly it might be to get a GoP
- If any existing wills might create confusion
It is important to be very specific about all your overseas assets. This helps your executioner prepare and apply for the necessary GoP if needed. If it is too costly to distribute the assets after your death and it does not balance out the value of those assets, perhaps leaving them out of the will might be your best bet.