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Flat inheritance: Onus on executor, administrator to ensure sale or ownership transfer, says HDB

We thank Mr Thomas Chan Hean Boon for his feedback (“Can HDB clarify its communication policy on flat inheritance?”; Oct 29).

The Housing Board says it typically does not proactively urge families to sell or transfer a flat, as it understands that the bereavement period after a loved one’s death can be delicate and difficult.

The Housing Board says it typically does not proactively urge families to sell or transfer a flat, as it understands that the bereavement period after a loved one’s death can be delicate and difficult.

Lim Lea Lea, Director (Branch Operations), Housing and Development Board

We thank Mr Thomas Chan Hean Boon for his feedback (“Can HDB clarify its communication policy on flat inheritance?”; Oct 29).

When the sole owner of a Housing and Development Board (HDB) flat passes away, there are generally three steps that his family needs to take.

First, they need to apply to the court for a Grant of Probate (if the late owner had a will) or a Grant of Letters of Administration (if there is no will), so that an executor or administrator respectively can be appointed to manage the late owner’s estate.

Second, the executor or administrator needs to register his legal right to manage the late owner’s HDB flat through a process known as transmission.

Finally, upon completion of transmission, the executor or administrator must then officially transfer the flat’s ownership to the relevant beneficiary or apply to sell the flat on the open market, subject to HDB’s approval.

It is the executor or administrator’s legal responsibility to ensure that the second and third steps are properly completed.

In Mr Chan’s case, his father and uncle are both beneficiaries of a flat owned solely by his grandmother.

When Mr Chan’s grandmother passed away, HDB sent our condolences to Mr Chan’s uncle, who was the executor of her will, and informed him of the three steps above.

When the transmission of the flat to Mr Chan’s uncle was completed in February 2016, we again reminded him that he would next need to apply to sell the flat or transfer it to the respective beneficiaries.

Mr Chan’s uncle would then need to discuss with his family members and decide on the next steps for the flat, with the guidance of their lawyers. Once they make a decision and apply to sell or transfer the flat, HDB will assess their eligibility to do so accordingly.

HDB did not receive any such application from Mr Chan’s uncle.

In such cases, we typically do not proactively or repeatedly urge the family to sell or transfer the flat, as we understand that the period of bereavement after a loved one’s passing can be delicate and difficult.

It remains the responsibility of the executor or administrator to ensure that the flat is sold or transferred appropriately after its transmission.

Nonetheless, HDB is prepared to provide general advice on a goodwill basis, should the family have questions about the processes involved.

Have views on this issue or a news topic you care about? Send your letter to voices [at] mediacorp.com.sg with your full name, address and phone number.

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flat housing HDB

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