Call us: +65 6221-8633
Follow us on:  

It’s a common case in countries around the world for people to die without a Will, and when these scenarios arise the Intestate Succession Act takes the lead.

Intestate Succession Act

Dying intestate has a lot of drawbacks despite its well-meaning nature. The purpose of the law is to benefit the spouse and the person’s closest blood ties, but instances arise when the opposite happens. Take a look at the example below.

87 Year Old Grandma Kicked Out of Flat as Son Did Not Leave a Will

Madam Foo, aged 87, was forced to leave the flat she had lived in with her son Chee Han Meng when Mr. Chee dies of cancer at age 49. The flat was given to Mr. Chee’s son Gary Chee who wanted to sell the flat in order to finalize his dream of studying abroad.

The morals of the youth are really questionable, would the late Mr. Chee wanted his mother to live in the streets? Had he left a will, his poor 87-year-old mother would have lived comfortably in the flat until she too passed on. In this case was the best interest of the deceased loved one placed forefront?

Now, what exactly goes into the whole inheritance when people die without a will in Singapore? The nine Laws of Intestacy below will explain it.

Rule 1: Dies Leaving a Spouse

Spouse here means either a husband or wife. Should a person die without children or without living parents then his/her spouse will inherit the whole estate.

Note: Singapore does not allow same-sex marriage and spouse in the Intestacy Act refers to a person of the opposite sex to the deceased.

Rule 2: Dies Leaving a Spouse and Children

When a person dies leaving behind a spouse and kids, then the estate will be divided in half. One half will go to the spouse, and the other half will be divided among the children equally.

Note: Legally adopted children have the same rights as legitimate blood children, and in the event that the deceased leaves behind a biological child and an adopted child, the property will be divided Equally among them.

Illegitimate children will NOT inherit anything according to the Intestacy Rules.

Rule 3: Dies Leaving Children

If a person dies intestate and has no living spouse but has children, then the estate will be divided among the children equally.

Note: in the advent that the children are deceased then their children (referred to as descendants) will get the property in their parent’s stead.

Rule 4: Dies Leaving Spouse and Parents

When a person dies intestate and has a surviving spouse and parents then the spouse will get one-half of the estate, the remaining half will be distributed equally between the parents.

Rule 5: Dies Leaving Parents

Should a person die single (without a spouse and children), or divorced without any children but his/her parents are still living then the parents inherit the whole estate. The estate will be divided equally between the parents.

Rule 6: Dies Leaving Siblings

If the person has no spouse, children or parents then his/her siblings will inherit the estate.  It will be distributed equally among them.

Note: The same rule from Rule #3 applies to deceased siblings. The intestate succession passes down to their descendants.

Rule 7: Dies Leaving Grandparents

If the person dies without any of the following spouse,  issues, parents, or siblings, then the estate passes down to his/her living grandparents to be divided equally.

Rule 8: Dies Leaving Aunts and Uncles

When the person dies without any from rule 1 to rule 7 then his/her estate passes down to the aunts and uncles. Descendants of deceased aunts and uncles can claim the inheritance in their stead.

Rule 9: Dies Leaving No One

In the event that the person has no surviving relatives then the estate will pass to the Government.


Claiming inheritance without a will is hard if one does not fall under any of the first eight rules of the Intestate Succession Act, and it’s all the more heartbreaking if there are millions at stake at the claim. To prevent the chaos, heartache, and disputes happening it would be for the best to not die without leaving a will.

If you want to learn more about Wills and the Intestacy Act then grab a copy of the book “The Rockwills Guide to  Succession and Trusts in Wealth Management” by clicking the link below