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2024 Guide to Property Inheritance Rules in Singapore

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Property inheritance in Singapore refers to the process by which the assets and properties of a deceased individual are transferred to their beneficiaries or heirs, according to Singaporean laws and regulations. This includes real estate properties such as residential homes, commercial buildings, and land.

Navigating property inheritance rules, especially regarding the sale of an HDB flat after the passing of a loved one, can be complex. Understanding the timelines and procedures involved is crucial during such sensitive times. In Singapore, the Housing

Property Inheritance Rules

and Development Board (HDB) oversees regulations regarding the sale of HDB flats, including those inherited by beneficiaries.

Did You Know?
  • Only Singapore citizens or permanent residents are eligible to inherit an HDB flat.
  • When selling an inherited property within three years of acquiring it, Seller’s Stamp Duty (SSD), ranging from 4 to 12% has to be paid

HDB inheritance:

Inheritance of HDB flats in Singapore can be influenced by various factors, including religious beliefs and the types of ownership involved. Let’s delve into each of these aspects:

Religion and HDB inheritance:

For Muslims:
  • If the deceased is Muslim and left no will, the HDB flat is governed by Syariah Law Faraid. Without a will, the owner can only bequeath 1/3rd of the property. The court distributes the remaining 2/3rd according to Faraid.
  • If there’s a will, the court still distributes 2/3rd of the interest in the flat according to Faraid, while the owner can bequeath 1/3rd.
For Non-Muslims:
  • If the owner is non-Muslim and left no will, the Intestate Succession Act regulates the ownership of the HDB flat. Relatives or beneficiaries can approach the court to be appointed as trustees to oversee the process.

Inheritance matters can lead to conflicts among surviving family members or co-owners. If there is a will, the will must be proved and executed under probate. The appointed trustee or executor will oversee the process following the Probate and Administration Act.

Types of Ownership and HDB Inheritance

Sole Ownership:

If you’re a non-Muslim sole owner of the HDB flat without a will:

  • The flat will be sold, and the proceeds divided:
    • Spouse receives 50%
    • Children divide the remaining 50% equally
  • If no surviving spouse or parents but have children, they inherit equally
  • If unmarried with no children but parents are alive, parents inherit equally
  • If single with no family, the flat reverts to the government.
  • Joint Tenancy:
    • All co-owners have equal shares.
    • If one owner (spouse) dies, the surviving spouse automatically inherits under the Right of Survivorship.

How Long to Sell HDB Flat After Death:

Understanding the legal obligations when selling an HDB flat following the passing of a family member is essential. Typically, the process spans from 2 to 3 months if everything proceeds smoothly. However, in intricate cases necessitating additional scrutiny, the timeline may extend beyond 6 months.

Key Actions for Handling HDB Inheritance and Sale 

  • Acquire the Death Certificate of the deceased owner.
  • Verify the existence of a valid will.
  • Submit an application for a Grant of Probate (in case of a will) or Letters of Administration (if not).
  • Check HDB eligibility conditions for proposed HDB flat owners.

Key Documents for Selling an HDB Flat After a Loss

  • Death Certificate of the deceased
  • Grant of Probate or Letter of Administration
  • Original HDB flat lease
  • NRICs(National Registration Identity Cards) of all legal heirs
  • Outstanding mortgage statement

Distribution of Estate When the Deceased Dies Without a Will

SpouseChildren, parentsSpouse gets everything
Spouse, childrenSpouse gets half, children gets the other half in equal portions
ChildrenSpouseChildren get everything in equal portions. Grandchildren can claim their parent’s share in equal portions if their parent is dead
Spouse, parentsChildrenSpouse gets half, parents get half in equal portions
ParentsSpouse, childrenParents get everything in equal portions
Brothers and sisters (or children of the deceased brother or sister)Spouse, children, parentsBrothers and sisters get equal portions. Their children can claim their share for them in equal portions if they are deceased
GrandparentsSpouse, children, parents, brothers and sisters or children of such brothers and sistersGrandparents take the estate in equal portions
Uncles and auntsSpouse, children, parents, brothers and sisters or children of such brothers and sisters, grandparentsUncles and aunts take the estate in equal portions
NoneEveryoneGovernment takes everything

In summary, selling an HDB flat after a loved one’s passing requires understanding legal requirements, gathering documents, and following inheritance laws. Seeking legal guidance can simplify this process, ensuring a smooth transition of property ownership during a challenging time.

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Frequently Asked Questions

Got a question? We’ve got the answers. If you don’t see your question here, drop us a message. We’re happy to assist.

An HDB flat owner may change the flat ownership to his/her immediate family members such as spouse, parents, children, or siblings if it is due to reasons acceptable by HDB.

Proof of ownership in HDB (Housing & Development Board) typically includes documents such as the Certificate of Title or the Deed of Lease, which shows the ownership details of the flat.

Regrettably, according to HDB regulations, married couples must jointly purchase an HDB flat as a family nucleus.

Each flat can have up to 4 owners. If there’s more than one proposed owner, they need to decide how they’ll share ownership when ownership changes: either joint tenancy or tenancy-in-common.

One spouse might agree to transfer their share of the flat to the other, so the other can keep the flat.