What Happens To Your HDB After You Pass Away In Singapore
Published on 10th February, 2021 by Bonsai Law
What Happens To Your HDB After Death?
For estate planning or probate / administration purposes, it's important to understand how your HDB will be handled upon your demise. Understanding the law surrounding this can assist you if you're an Executor / Administrator handling the estate of a deceased person, or if you'd just like to familiarize yourself with what can potentially happen to your HDB after death.
How Is Your HDB Held?
Do you hold your flat as the sole owner, as a joint tenant or as a tenant-in-common? It is important to know this as this determines whether your HDB will be considered part of your estate.
If you are unsure of your manner of holding the HDB property, you can find out by logging onto your HDB account at https://www.hdb.gov.sg and searching under your Purchased Flat Details.
What Is The Difference Between Being A Sole Owner, A Joint Tenant and A Tenant-In-Common?
If you are the sole owner of the HDB, you hold the flat in your own name. When you pass away, your HDB will be distributed according to your wishes in accordance with your Will or the Intestate Succession Act if you did not have a Will drafted.
The Joint Tenant scheme tends to be misunderstood by lay people in Singapore. If you hold the HDB as joint tenants with other parties, your share or interest in the HDB will be transferred to the remaining owners upon your death through the right of survivorship. In this case, your HDB will not be considered part of your estate upon your death and the remaining joint-tenants will own the HDB.
In many cases, HDBs in Singapore are held by husbands and wives, or family members, as joint tenants. However, this isn't always the case and some families may prefer to hold their HDBs as tenants-in-common, which will be explained below.
A tenant-in-common owns a separate share in the HDB, and this share (held as a percentage - eg. 50%) is part of your estate when you pass away. There is no right of survivorship and this percentage share will either be distributed according to your Will or in accordance with the Intestate Succession Act.
What Are The Documents That Have To Be Obtained Upon Death For A HDB?
Sole Owner / Tenant-In-Common
Depending on whether a Will has been drafted or not, it will be necessary to extract the Grant of Probate or the Grant of Letters of Administration to handle the HDB of the deceased. Generally, you will need to hire a lawyer to apply for the Grant of Probate or the Grant of Letters of Administration.
Once either the Grant of Probate or the Grant of Letters of Administration have been extracted, it will be necessary for the Personal Representative of the estate to register his/her legal right as the Administrator or Executor with HDB.
It is possible to engage HDB's services after obtaining the Grant of Probate or the Grant of Letters of Administration.
Firstly, you will have to approach the HDB Branch managing the deceased’s flat to make the necessary application with the following documents:
- Original copy of the Grant of Letters of Administration and Statement for Grant of Letters of Administration or Grant of Probate and will
- Original copy of the Syariah Court Inheritance Certificate (for Muslim estates only)
- A copy of the deceased owner’s death certificate
- Duplicate lease of the deceased’s flat
- Identity card(s) of all flat owner(s) and Administrator(s) or Executor(s)
After that, you will then have to:
- Sign the relevant documents
- Pay fees (stamp fees, conveyancing fees, etc.)
- Apply at the HDB Branch managing the deceased’s flat to transfer the flat to the beneficiaries as owners, subjected to HDB's eligibility criteria and conditions governing transfer of flat ownership
Generally, it is not necessary to extract the Grant of Probate or the Grant of Letters of Administration if the HDB was held as joint tenants. The remaining joint owners will need to file a Notice of Death at the Singapore Land Authority.
However, even though a Grant of Probate or the Grant of Letters of Administration is not necessary for the estate of a deceased person when the HDB was held in a joint tenancy, it is usually still necessary as a deceased person's estate usually has other assets aside from the HDB.
To lodge a Notice of Death, the remaining joint owners will need the following documents:-
- Identity cards of remaining joint-owners
- Original death certificate of deceased owner
- Evidence of estate duty clearance for deceased owner’s estate (for death occurring before 15 February 2008)
- Duplicate lease (if any)
The remaining joint owners will also need to pay the registration and conveyancing fees at the point of application.