What should be the contents of an affidavit of law?

Estate of a Deceased Domiciled Outside Singapore #

When an individual dies domiciled outside Singapore, with or without a valid will and testament, and leaves assets in Singapore, certain legal procedures must be followed to manage the estate. In such cases, the Singapore courts require applicants seeking a Grant of Probate or Letters of Administration for the deceased’s estate to provide an affidavit of law. This affidavit must be prepared by a foreign lawyer practicing in the country where the deceased was domiciled at the time of their death.

Additionally, if the deceased died domiciled in a Commonwealth country and the applicant(s) have obtained a Grant of Probate or Letters of Administration in that country, the applicant(s) can apply to reseal the foreign grant in Singapore instead of applying for a new Grant of Probate or Letters of Administration. This process allows the foreign grant to be recognised and effective in Singapore, simplifying the administration of the deceased’s estate. If resealing application is applicable, then an affidavit of law is not required.

The affidavit of law should detail relevant information such as the laws governing the administration of estates in the deceased’s country of domicile, the rights of beneficiaries, and the proper execution of wills, if applicable. Following the guidelines set out in Practice Direction 65 of the Family Justice Courts Practice Directions (FJC PD) of Singapore.

PD 65 of FJC PD #

Practice Direction 65 of FJD PD provides:

1) Where evidence of the law of a country outside Singapore is required on any application for a grant, the affidavit of any person who practises, or has practised, as a barrister or advocate in that country and who is conversant with its law is to be filed using the electronic filing checklist at the time the checklist is generated.

(2) For an application for a grant of probate, the person making the affidavit of foreign law should state –

(a) who is entrusted with the administration of the estate by the court having jurisdiction at the place where the deceased died domiciled or who is entitled to administer the estate by the law of the place where the deceased died domiciled; and

(b) whether the will was properly executed in accordance with section 5 of the Wills Act (Cap. 352).

(3) For an application for a grant of letters of administration, the person making the affidavit of foreign law should state –

(a) who is entrusted with the administration of the estate by the court having jurisdiction at the place where the deceased died domiciled or who is entitled to administer the estate by the law of the place where the deceased died domiciled;

(b) who are the beneficiaries of the estate in accordance with the law of the place where the deceased died domiciled; and

(c) the shares of the minor beneficiaries (if any) in accordance with the law of the place where the deceased died domiciled.

(4) For an application for a grant of letters of administration with will annexed, the person making the affidavit of foreign law should state the information required in sub- paragraphs (2) and (3).

Section 5 of Wills Act 1838 #

Drafting of Affidavit by Foreign Lawyer #

Key Components of the Affidavit

  1. Affidavit Header:
    • The document should be titled “AFFIDAVIT”. This part will be assisted by the Singapore lawyers.
  2. Personal Information:
    • Full name, country, passport, or identity card number.
    • Name and address of the law office.
    • Professional status (Solicitor, Barrister, etc.).
  3. Professional Background:
    • Confirmation of being a practising lawyer in the country of domicile of the deceased.
    • Annex a copy of the curriculum vitae as an exhibit.
  4. Knowledge and Belief:
    • Statement confirming that the information provided is within the personal knowledge or believed to be true based on professional understanding.
  5. Domicile and Death Details:
    • The deceased’s domicile, place, and date of death.
    • Details of next-of-kin and beneficiaries.
  6. Entitlement and Administration:
    • Confirmation of the applicant(s) eligibility to administer the estate.
    • Basis for the opinion, including relevant laws and resources consulted.
  7. Supporting Documents:
    • Annex copies of resources and legal texts referred to.
    • Include grants, orders, deeds, or decrees issued by foreign courts, if applicable.
  8. Renunciation of Rights:
    • If there are individuals with prior or equal rights, include their renunciation.
  9. Jurisdictional Assets:
    • Statement confirming any assets within Singapore jurisdiction.
  10. Minority Interest:
    • Confirmation that there is no minority interest or beneficiaries lacking capacity under Singapore law.
  11. Swearing/Affirmation:
    • The affidavit must be sworn or affirmed before a Notary Public or Singapore Consulate Office.

Specimen Affidavit Format #

AFFIDAVIT

I, {FULL NAME}, of {NAME OF LAW OFFICE}, {ADDRESS}, a {SOLICITOR/BARRISTER}, do solemnly and sincerely affirm and say as follows:

  1. I am a practising lawyer in {COUNTRY OF DOMICILE OF DECEASED}. A copy of my curriculum vitae is annexed hereto as Exhibit “ABC-1”.
  2. The matters deposed to herein are within my own personal knowledge and true to the best of my knowledge and belief.
  3. I am familiar with the laws of {COUNTRY OF DOMICILE OF DECEASED}.
  4. I understand that {NAME OF DECEASED} died domiciled in {COUNTRY OF DOMICILE OF DECEASED} at {PLACE OF DEATH} on {DATE OF DEATH} leaving behind the following next-of-kin and beneficiaries:
    • {NAME, RELATION, AGE, ENTITLEMENT}
  5. I understand that {NAME(S) OF APPLICANT(S)} will be applying to administer the estate of the deceased.
  6. Based on the laws of {COUNTRY OF DOMICILE OF DECEASED}, I confirm that the applicant(s) is/are entitled and eligible to administer the estate. The basis for my conclusion is {BASIS OF FINDING}, relying on the following resources:
    • {SOURCE OF LAWS, ETC}
  7. [IF APPLICABLE] {NAME OF COURT} had issued a {GRANT/ORDER/DEED/DECREE} dated {DATE}, entrusting {FULL NAME(S) OF APPLICANT(S)} with authority to administer the deceased’s estate. A copy of the said {GRANT/ORDER/DEED/DECREE} is annexed as “ABC-X”.
  8. [IF APPLICABLE] {NAMES OF PERSONS WITH PRIOR OR EQUAL RIGHTS} have renounced their rights. Copies of the renunciation are marked as “ABC-X”.
  9. I understand that there are assets of the deceased within the jurisdiction of the Courts in Singapore.
  10. [AS THE CASE MAY BE] I confirm that there is no minority interest in the estate, and no beneficiary lacks capacity under the Mental Capacity Act 2008.

Disclaimer #

This guide is provided for informational purposes only and is not intended to serve as legal advice. While we strive to ensure the accuracy and completeness of the information provided, laws and regulations may change over time and may vary depending on specific circumstances.

Users of this guide should not act upon the information contained herein without seeking professional legal counsel. Loh Eben Ong LLP does not assume any liability for any errors or omissions in the content or for actions taken based on the information provided. For the most current legal advice and to address specific legal issues, please consult a qualified lawyer.