What happens to HDB flat if both owners pass away?

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This is undoubtedly a difficult conversation that no one wants to have but if you are ever in this situation, you need to know: what happens to a HDB flat if both owners suddenly pass away

By: Tang Thomas LLC/

Image: Tang Thomas LLC

WHO WILL INHERIT THE HDB FLAT?

If the flat is owned under the joint-tenancy scheme, it is owned as a whole and will go to the surviving co-owner. If the flat was bought under the tenancy-in-common scheme, it is owned in percentages and will be distributed according to a will. But if both owners pass, the property will likely be distributed to living relatives.

If the owners are joint tenants – HDB flat ownership will pass to the beneficiaries under the wills if the flat is owned as a whole.

If the owners are tenants-in-common – The percentage share of the HDB flat each owner holds will pass to the beneficiaries in their respective wills.

If the owners do not have a will – The Family Court will decide on the distribution of the HDB flat according to the Intestate Succession Act.

If the owners have children – If the owners were a married couple, the HDB flat will be equally split among their living children.

If the beneficiaries are minors – A custodian (such as a guardian) will manage the inheritance until the child turns 21.

If the flat passes to multiple owners – Beneficiaries can sell the flat and divide the profits. One party can also buy out the flat from the others.

If the beneficiaries have their own HDB flat – You can only own one HDB flat at a time so you have to choose which flat to keep and sell the other flat within six months of inheriting the second flat.

If the beneficiaries own private property – If the HDB flat was purchased after 30 October 2010, you have to sell either one of the properties. If the minimum occupancy period of the flat has not been met, you have to sell the private property.

FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS

Can you include your HDB flat in your will?

Yes, you can. Depending on whether you hold the flat as a joint tenant or as a tenants-in-common, your flat will be distributed in accordance with your will.

How will your HDB flat be distributed?

You need to appoint an executor, who will apply for a Grant of Probate upon your death to administer and distribute your assets including your flat in accordance to your will.

What should living relatives do in the absence of a will?

The deceased’s next-of-kin should engage a lawyer to apply for a grant of Letters of Administration (“LOA”). The LOA will allow the administrator to collect or sell the assets and distribute them to the rightful beneficiaries.


Tang Thomas LLC is a boutique law firm that specialises in dispute resolution, regulatory governance and corporate and commercial law. For more information on how we can assist you, visit tangthomas.com.

Written by Ravi Chandran

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