Can You Apply For A Grant Of Probate In Singapore If The Original Will Is Lost?

Can You Apply For A Grant Of Probate In Singapore If The Original Will Is Lost?


The short answer to this is:-

Yes, it is still possible to make an application for a Grant of Probate of a copy of the Will but whether the application is successful or not depends on the circumstances of why the Will cannot be found. However, do note that it is imperative that you at least have a copy of the Will as it is exceedingly difficult (albeit not impossible if you are able to sufficiently establish to the Court the contents of the Will) to make any application for a Grant of Probate if you have nothing on hand.

Unfortunately, there are many situations in which a testator's original Will may end up lost. Generally, Singaporeans tend to be fairly "pantang" about issues concerning death and inheritance, and communication regarding Wills and similar such matters can be somewhat lacking.

As the Will is a physical document, it can be easily misplaced or forgotten about, especially if the Will had been created by the testator many years ago.

What Should I Do If I Cannot Find The Testator's Original Will?

Similar to how rebooting a computer tends to solve a large number of computer problems, it should be a given that you should search for the original Will as thoroughly as you can before making an application for probate of a copy of the Will.

It's generally useful to check with all parties who may be in possession of the physical document, such as:

  • the testator's immediate and extended family;
  • the testator's close friends; and
  • the testator's lawyers/law firm/ Will drafting company.

You may also wish to conduct a search with the Wills Registry to see if the testator registered his/her Will on the Singapore Academy of Law website, or put up an advertisement in the Singapore Law Gazette, to check the location of the Will or to get additional information regarding the Will.

Process Of Making An Application For Probate Of A Lost Will

In order to make an application for probate of a copy of a Will, you will have to ensure that the copy of the Will you have in your possession is identical to the original Will that was signed by the testator.

Provided the Court's conditions are satisfied, probate may be granted of the copy of the Will under section 9(a) of the Probate and Administration Act (Cap 251), limited until the original Will is admitted to probate. 

Generally, making this application should be a measure of last resort, as the application is complex, lengthy and not guaranteed to be approved by the Singapore Courts.

There are two separate applications here - a summons for the copy of the Will to be admitted to proof for the purpose of probate, and subsequently, the actual application itself for a Grant of Probate of the copy of the Will.

Generally, the difficulty of going through this process is the fact that there is a presumption that the original Will has been destroyed if it cannot be found. The executor of the lost Will will have to convince the court that this was not the case, and will need to rebut this presumption. In order for probate to be granted, the executor will have to be able to sufficiently prove that the testator did not destroy the original Will with the intention of revoking it. 


If you are contemplating your options with respect to applying for a Grant of Probate of a Lost Will, we can assist. Just get in touch with us through our contact form below and we will follow up with you regarding your matter.

Alternatively, you may wish to get in touch by contacting us at: 6550 6359

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Filed under: Probate & Administration
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