How to Obtain an Inheritance Certificate – A Guide to Muslim Probate in Singapore

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The loss of a loved one is often an overwhelming and traumatic experience that can be difficult to recover from, even years down the road. As devastating and painful as their grief is, the family left behind will usually have to deal with many challenges, especially when it comes to inheritance and succession matters. Those domiciled in Singapore and of Islamic faith must distribute their assets according to the Muslim inheritance law in Singapore (Faraid law) provided for by the Administration of Muslim Law Act (AMLA).  In this blog post, we will delve into all you need to know about estate distribution, from Muslim probate and inheritance certificates to resolving asset disputes and more!

Inheritance Certificate and Muslim Probate: How Assets are Distributed According to the Muslim Inheritance Law in Singapore

In Singapore, the laws regulating the administration of a deceased’s estate apply differently to Muslims and non-Muslims. A non-Muslim’s property is usually distributed according to the terms of the deceased’s Will, and for those without Wills, the assets will be shared according to the rules in the Intestate Succession Act.

The distribution of the estate of a deceased Muslim individual must be in accordance with Islamic laws and principles. The legal process that administers the division of these assets is known as Muslim probate. It typically involves various facets, including determining the rightful heirs, validating Wills, and addressing debts and other financial expenses and obligations.

Inheritance certificates are issued by the Syariah Court in Singapore and list all the beneficiaries who are entitled to the deceased’s estate. This document is essential to ensure that the property is distributed fairly and is compliant with the Muslim inheritance law in Singapore. In addition, this certificate will be required for certain legal and financial transactions.

The Application Process of an Inheritance Certificate 

Under the Faraid law, the application for an inheritance certificate is regarded as an essential component when it comes to the administration of a deceased’s estate. This applies to all Muslims domiciled in Singapore, with the exception of those who have renounced Islam.

The usual protocol for the application of an inheritance certificate is as follows:

Application Submission: Your application can be submitted online through the Syariah Court’s website (SYC Portal), using a SingPass (for Singapore citizens and those domiciled in Singapore), CorpPass (for law firms and MUIS), or a SYCPass (for foreigners without a SingPass). You will also be required to provide certain information and documents to complete your application process.

Statutory Declaration: This is a statement made to declare that something is true, and you need to ensure that the form is completely filled out before you get the declaration affirmed before a Commissioner for Oaths. Following this, you need to upload a scanned copy of the document onto the SYC Portal.

Application Payment: Once your statutory declaration has been accepted, you can proceed with making the payment for your application. This usually costs around $34, however, if the payment is not made before the application expires, you will have to resubmit it.

Once your application is approved, you can download your inheritance certificate from the portal, but this must be carried out within 14 days following approval. An application for an extract copy of the certificate will be necessary for those who haven’t downloaded the document. If your application was rejected, the document must be resubmitted after the necessary edits have been made. In order to receive excellent legal counsel and ensure your legal proceedings comply with the Muslim inheritance law in Singapore, we strongly advise you to engage a trusted Muslim lawyer in Singapore.

Who Can Apply for an Inheritance Certificate in Singapore?

Beneficiary – According to the Muslim law of inheritance, the legal heirs of the deceased individual may apply for an inheritance certificate so that they can receive their entitled shares. This certificate will be particularly essential if no Will has been left behind.

Executor – If an individual has been named as an executor in the Will, they can apply for the inheritance certificate. If there is no Will, the person appointed as the estate administrator can apply for the inheritance certificate.

Next of kin – If no executor has been named, the deceased’s next of kin (e.g., spouse, parent, or child) may apply for the Muslim inheritance certificate.

Law firms – An application for an inheritance certificate can also be submitted by the law firm that represents the beneficiary.

MUIS – The Majlis Ugama Islam Singapura (MUIS), also known as the Islamic Religious Council of Singapore, can file for an application on behalf of Baitulmal, which is an institution that serves as a trustee for Muslims. This will only be carried out if the individual passes away, leaving no heirs or beneficiaries.

How Can You Apply for a Muslim Probate Using an Inheritance Certificate?

If you have received your inheritance certificate, you will be required to apply for a Grant of Probate or a Grant of Letters of Administration from the Family Justice Courts. The Grant of Probate is a document that confirms the authority of the individual appointed as an executor – this is only applicable if there is a Will.

Executors can administer the estate according to the deceased’s wishes as expressed in their Will. However, according to Faraid law, only one-third of the estate can be bequeathed as Hibah (gift). The remaining two-thirds of the estate must be divided among the heirs, with male heirs typically receiving twice as much as female heirs.

If there is no Will, the beneficiary will have to apply for a Grant of Letters of Administration so that the estate can be distributed according to the inheritance certificate. However, it must be noted that nominated CPF (Central Provident Fund) monies and insurance policies do not fall under the Muslim inheritance law in Singapore.

What Can Be Done If a Dispute Occurs Regarding the Inheritance Certificate?

Disputes regarding the contents of the inheritance certificate or asset distribution are generally not handled by the Syariah Court in Singapore. So, if you need guidance with resolving such disputes, it is recommended that you have a highly experienced lawyer to guide you through the process and to ensure that the legal process is well within the boundaries of Islamic law. Furthermore, they will be able to handle all your legal documentation, minimizing the chances of any errors or rejections, from occurring and saving you a lot of time and money in the process.

Whether you need to draft a Will that complies with the Faraid law, want guidance in handling inheritance matters, or to ensure your legal and financial transactions are in accordance with Islamic law, our lawyers at A. Rohim Noor Lila LLP will step in and assist you. Our experienced team comprising Singapore’s top Syariah lawyers, will make sure that your assets are distributed fairly, while taking care of your requirements and concerns.

Make the right call for your future with A. Rohim Noor Lila LLP. Get in touch with us now!

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