Most of the HDBs in Singapore are held in joint tenancy. Under joint tenancy, if one of the flat owners passes away, the deceased joint tenant’s share or interest in the flat will be passed on to the surviving joint tenant(s).

For example, husband and wife (both above 21 years old) are holding the flat under joint tenancy. If the husband passes away, the surviving wife can take over the flat as the sole lessee if she is a Singapore Citizen or Singapore PR. If the lease had already been issued for the flat, a legal document known as the Notice of Death instrument will have to be prepared and lodged with the Singapore Land Authority (SLA) to allow the authorities to update the land records accordingly.

This may seem to be straightforward, but the complication comes thereafter as the surviving spouse is the sole-owner now. It is a similar situation if the flat is held under Tenant-in-Common.

If there is a Will:

The deceased’s interest in the flat will be distributed according to the Will. The deceased’s family should engage a private solicitor to apply to the Courts for a Grant of Probate. (The Grant of Probate is a Court Order that gives the legal authority to the Executor to administer the deceased’s estate. The Executor is the person named in a Will to administer the deceased’s estate. )

If there is no Will

The deceased’s interest in the flat will be distributed according to the provisions of the Intestate Succession Act. The deceased’s family should engage a private solicitor to apply to the Courts for a Grant of Letters of Administration. This is a Court Order that gives the legal authority to the Administrator to administer the deceased’s estate. The Administrator is the person administering the deceased’s estate.

Once the Grant of Letters of Administration or the Grant of Probate has been obtained, the Administrator(s) / Executor(s) can engage their own solicitors or appoint HDB solicitors to act for them to register their legal right as the Administrator(s) / Executor(s).

Note in either case, the remaining family or single occupier is only allowed to retain the existing flat if:

  • he / she is a Singapore Citizen or Singapore Permanent Resident (SPR)
  • he / she is at least 21 years old
  • he / she satisfies HDB’s prevailing eligibility rules and conditions to own a flat

Therefore, if both parents pass away leaving minor children, the situation will be more complicated. A proper estate planning is crucial to address such issues.

There are many other problems of passing on an HDB flat without a will. As a Professional Estate Planner, I help many clients set up a proper will to avoid all these issues and save your loved ones from unnecessary emotional and financial burdens.

Click here to contact me for professional estate planning service

About the Author

Ivan Guan is the author of the popular book "FIRE Your Retirement". He is an independent financial adviser with more than a decade of knowledge and experience in providing financial advisory services to both individuals and businesses. He specializes in investment planning and portfolio management for early retirement. His blog provides practical financial tips, strategies and resources to help people achieve financial freedom. Follow his Telegram Channel to join the FIRE community.
The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the author. This does not reflect the official position of any agency, organization, employer or company. Refer to full disclaimers here.

  • Hi ivan,

    I am currently married to singapore citizen and holding LTVP+ , recently gave birth to a kid who is holding singapore citizenship.
    We have 3room hbd which is fully paid off, and my husband is the sole owner and i am occupier.

    What happens to the fully paid house if anything happens to him as my kid is only 1yrs old now?

    Would like to check, if my husband does a will stating that i can handle all the proceeding if something happens to him, is it possible that legally i can administer everything and sell the hdb and take the money while still holding ltvp?

    • Hi, YK,

      As neither you nor your kid is eligible for HDB. The HDB will likely be sold if your husband passes away without a will.

      He can write a will and appoint you as the executor to administer his estate. The executor doesn’t have to be a Singaporean, so he can appoint you.

  • Hi Ivan

    Wanted to check if I decided not to pull out my name , so I will still be under joint tenancy, which I know if my father demise , his share will auto transfer to me and my mum

    So regarding about his credit debt do I still need to pay on his behalf ?

    And do I still need them to WILL the house to me ?

    Appreciate your advise

  • Hi Ivan , just wan clarify mean if he not around anymore , and the Hdb is WILL to me , mean I still have to sell the Hdb tat WILL to me to clear his debt correct ?

  • Hi Ivan , bank debt is regard to his personal debt like credit card and personal loan , the current Hdb have been fully paid btw, so do I still need to pay my dad personal bank debt if let say he WILL the Hdb to me?

    • He can will it to you, but all his debt must be settled before the HDB can be distributed. If he doesn’t have enough estate, the property needs to be sold to pay off his debt first.

  • hi ivan

    would like to check currently i have a hdb currently under my parent and my name as joint tenancy. But i pulling our my name as i will purchase another hdb with my wife .

    My dad currently 68yr old have bank debt,not bankrupt yet

    let say the current hdb left my parent as joint tenancy after i pull out my name , in the case if the last one pass on is my dad , do he have to pay the bank when he pass on ?

    cos the hdb they wanted to hand over to me when they not ard anymore

    so is it advised to made a WILL?

    and lastly understand that i have to see away the hdb my parent hand over to me right ? as cannot have two hdb

    thank you

    • Hi, Leow

      Yes, you cannot have two HDBs. For the “bank debt”, is it for the HDB mortgage?

      It is advisable to have a will, but debt has to be settled first before the asset can be distributed.

  • Hi, I would like to check that my uncle, who is single, has purchased a 2-room flexi flat and wants to leave a will to say the flat would be left for his niece and nephew. Would that be possible?

    • Hi, Jayla, the beneficiary must be eligible for HDB in the first place. If not, the flat has to be sold and the beneficiary will get the cash proceeds.

  • Just happen find this site, ok My question. Currently my dad already RIP, left only my mum and me only child. i don’t have any bro or sister. HDB does send letter about ownership. Do I need to go? My mum wonder when she RIP , the current HDB will be so call automatic go under me ? The purpose why HDB send letter is more on document stuff? Because the current housing Tax is still under my dad name

    hope u understand what I mean here, so still need to go HDB do the paper work so call once my Mum RIP the current HDB flat will under me?

    I feel is unncessary since i the only child no bro or sister,

    • Hi, Chin,

      If the HDB was under the joint name of your mum and dad, your mum will become the sole owner of the flat. I recommend her to do a will to indicate how she wants to pass on the property if she passes away.

  • Dear Ivan

    I am a divorcee with 2 adult children living in a HDB Flat and the flat is wholly owned by me. If I pass away can my 2 children keep the HDB flat if both of them are under the age of 35?

  • Dear Sean,

    If a flat is inherited by intestacy, can the new owner sell the flat immediately and keep the proceeds, or will the proceeds go to the estate of the deceased?

    Any minimum time period need to lapse before the new owner can sell the flat without the proceeds becoming estate of the deceased? Thank you.


  • Dear Sean,

    Who would handle the HDB flat upon death of the owner?

    If the will of the owner is to sell the flat on open market upon death, is the proceeds distributed by HDB?

    If the owner has outstanding debts, will the proceeds be used to pay off the debt first?

  • HI Mr Guan, I have a question to ask. My dad and mum are joint owner of a HDB fully paid HDB flat.
    My dad passed away recently and we want to transfer the flat to my mum who is dementia. Is there any issue or future issue that might be, considering her dementia? Thank you very much for your time.

    Mr Heng

  • Hi Ivan

    Can I kindly check with you , my mum owns the HDB Flat that she is currently staying with my sister. I own a private property.

    In the event that she is not around, would the HDB flat be automatically be given 50/50 to my sister and myself? Can I have my name under this flat and do I need to pay x% of my private property value in order to receive this inheritance?

    thanks v much for your kind advise

    • Hi, June

      There are many possible scenarios. Assuming your mum has no will and the flat is under her sole name:

      1. If your father is around, your father will have 50% share and you and your sister will share 50%
      2. If your father is not around, you and your sister are entitled to 50% each. But since you already have a private property, you can’t own another HDB flat. The HDB needs to be sold.

      If the flat is under joint name between your sister and your mum. The flat will belong to your sister if your mum passes away.

  • Dear Alan,

    My mum and I presently staying with my uncle in his 3-room HDB flat. My uncle had made a will stating my mun will be the beneficiary of his flat should anything happen to him. Does that mean id should anything happen to my uncle, my mum will become the owner of my uncle’s flat???

    • Hi, Jane

      If your mum satisfies “eligibility rules and conditions to own a flat”, she will become the owner in the demise of your uncle. It is best to check with HDB if she meets all the criteria.

  • Hi Ivan,
    If myself, husband and children all passed away, what happens to the hdb flat? Can my family or husband’s family be able to claim sales proceed?

  • Hi
    The HDB is under tenancy in common.
    My bro n dad holds 33% each. My late mom holds 34% without a will.
    Recently my bro wanted to get his own HDB. All siblings are married. He will need to transfer his share to my dad? We are worried our dad will sell the flat n squandered the sales proceed away.
    Can my dad sell the flat without our consent? Anyway to prevent him from selling?
    Thank you.

    • Hi, Janie

      This is more of a legal issue than estate planning issue. Technically you need all owners of house agree before the house can be sold. But it still depends on your family circumstance. It is hard to give a general advice on this.

  • Hi, im the sole owner of a hdb flat. what will happen to the flat when i pass away and my only child is under the age of 21

  • I saw this article and i wish to ask for advice on following.


    1. He passed away recently (at 65years 4months age.)
    2. My dad own a HDB flat joint-tenant with my Mum. HDB is not fully paid and still under bank loan.
    3. He owes a lot of personal credit card debts across estimated 6 banks amounting $60k.
    4. He owns a company under sole proprietorship.
    5. He did not draft any will.
    6. He made a nomination on CPF 100% to my Mum.
    7. He has some current and savings account with not much money left est. $1k.

    Questions in doubt.

    1. What happens to the bank loan with HDB as his death age is not covered under HPS as he is over 65 years old.?

    2. Will the debts on the banks affect my Mum’s HDB?

    3. Will the debts on banks affect the CPF he has nominated to my Mum?

    As we are still feeling very lost because of our Dad’s recent demise, appreciate if you could advise me. Thanks.

    • Hi, Chang, below are some general info, hope it helps

      1. Since the house is under joint-name, it becomes your mum’s asset/liability. She still needs to continue to service the loan.
      2. Assume the loan is under the joint name, as long as she continues to pay the monthly mortgage loan, the bank should not raise any concern. Otherwise, she may need to refinance the house, which the bank may not approve due to her age.
      3. The bank may ask her to pay off the outstanding mortgage loan once she inherits your father’s CPF.

      • Hi ivan whay about my case? Dad has adv liver cancer. He is still alive but at the hospital now due to sone issues.

        We have our hdb resale apptmt scheduled on 1st june. What might happen to the transaction if my father passss on before that?

  • I’m a single above 35 years old and currently owning 1 private property. Can I inherit a subsidized HDB flat that has reached MOP from my parent? Can I keep both Private condo and inherited HDB?

  • Hi Ivan

    I would like to check that my brother has bought a BTO 2 room flat under the single scheme with full payment by cash. I would like to know that if he passed away without a will, what will happen to the BTO flat? Does he need to get a will done and how to proceed?

  • Hi Ivan , I would like to ask I am a owner of my hdb flat and my partner have pass away and I only got one children who is age above 21 . My child have bought a BTO .If I one day pass away , does my house goes to my child and my child have to sell one of her hdb away ?

    • Hi, Jack, your chid doesn’t have to sell her HDB, but since she cannot own 2 HDBs at the same time. She may choose to sell your flat and take the cash proceeds.

      • Hi Mr Guan,

        So that means the cash does not need to go into CPF?

        For example when an individual purchase a HDB flat with CPF.
        When he sell it, he need to put the money back into CPF with interest.

        So in the case of inheritance, we do not need to put the cash proceeds into CPF?

        Thank you

  • Hi Ivan,
    My brother is the sole owner of a hdb flat. He has a Will to pass his flat to my siblings and I. Recently, he married a foreign wife who does not have PR or Singapore Citizenship. He intends to rent out the flat and live with her in Thailand. My question is, if he passes away, does his wife have any right to claim the flat since the Will is 100% to us only? Thanks.

    • Hi, Jeff

      Generally speaking, if your brother clearly wills the flat to you and his wife is not a joint owner, it is unlikely for other people to claim the estate.

  • Hello,

    I and my wife jointly own an HDB flat and are both Singaporeans working and living in Overseas. Our son was born last year here in Overseas. He is now a foreign citizen living in overseas.

    My question is if we (both me and my wife) were to pass away, what would happen to our flat? Can my son own the flat or if not, can he sell the flat and receive the cash from the sale?

    Thank you

  • Hi,

    Q1) The HDB flat is under the joint-tenancy. It is under my father and mother name.
    I will like to what know what to the flat then and HDB loan if my father passed away one day. Will the HDB flat pass to my mum? Do my mum still require to continue to service the loan?

    Q2) Another scenario is what happen to the flat if my mum and my father have passed away (The flat is under both their names)
    Do I require to service the HDB loan? What will happen to the flat?


    • Hi, Andy

      Regarding your question. If your concern is the loan. Yes, the loan has to be serviced before it can be passed to the next person. But generally, HDB owner has the Home Protection scheme which will help clear the loan payment.

  • If my aunt wills her hdb flat to me, will I be able to inherit the flat and stay in it and NOT sell it if I am 35 years old and single? Can a single lady be able to inherit it if family nucleus criteria is not met? Just stay alone in hdb flat, will I be able to inherit and NOT sell it?

  • Hi Ivan Guan, My mum and myself are the owner of the flat. I understand that if my mum or myself passes on, either 1 of us will be taking over the flat. Just wish to check , if both of us passes on without a WILL, will the sales of the flat proceeds to my siblings automatically? I have 2 Brothers and 2 sisters all married.

    • Hi, Adeline

      Technically, if both you pass away in a common accident, the law will treat it as if the older one (your mum) passes away first and you pass away subsequently. At this point, the law will distribute your flat according to the intestacy law assuming you are the sole owner of the flat.

  • Dear Sean,

    I am under tenancy-in-common (equal shares) with a HDB flat owned by my parents and myself. I have 2 other siblings who owned their own HDB flat. I understand that If my parents were to passed on, their share will be distributed according to the intestate law to my siblings and myself.

    1) Given that they own their own HDB flat, how will the shares be split?

    2) Would I be given the first right to buyover the shares from my siblings when my parents have passed on?

    3) if i would like to sell off my share of the HDB flat and they are unwilling to purchase it, could you advise what i could do? Would selling it to outsiders be allowed?

    Thank you in advance

  • Hi Ivan,

    Thank you for sharing.

    1. If there is 2 existing HDB owners, can there be a 3rd owner added to it?

    2. If yes, one of the owner pass away, how will his/ her share be distributed between the other 2 owners?
    Can he/she decide who to give the share to?

    3. Will a occupier receive any share?

    4. Can 1 of the owner make a will to let the child inherit his/ her share if he/ her pass away?

    5. If there’s 2 owner and a occupier and the house loan is deducted half each from 1 owner and the occupier cpf, and if 1 of the owner pass away, will the occupier gets any share?

    Thank you.

  • The flat that we stay in, is currently own by my mum and my step father. But I am not under the guardianship of my step father (not legal daughter). So if in the event anything happens to them… What happen to the flat? My mum is a lot older too so I don’t really trust my step dad to be honest .

  • Hi Mr Guan,

    There is a will made on my HDB joint tenancy. When I pass on and my spouse decides to sell the flat, is there a need to involve the lawyer (the one engaged for obtaining probate of grant) in order to proceed with the HDB sales? Kindly advise. Thank you.

  • If my mother is the sole owner of a hdb flat and has always said she want to leave the flat to me after she passes on, should she make a will? Or is there a simple nomination process with hdb to do this? If i also own a hdb flat, what will happen then?

  • Hi Ivan,
    I want to enquiry a question, I want to buy HDB with my mom, both are PR, if any of us pass away, can one PR retain the HDB,? Any appeal succeed?

  • Dear Mr Guan,

    i want to ask if i m not yet get PR, im holding Long term visit pass , my husband is singaporean . Our hdb house my husband name, my name n my mother in law is occupier . But tis house i also saving n pay together with my husband by his name. So how abt if unlucky any happen to my husband ? How abt my HDB house. Who will be next owner if i still holding LTVP.

    Hope to hear from u soon.

    Thank you so much for ur advised


    • Hi Maylee,

      If you have no children, the house should by right to be transferred to you.

      Since since you are not a Singaporean, you are not able to be the owner of the flat. Thus the flat has to be sold and you will take the sales proceed.

      • Dear Mr Guan,

        Thank you so much for your reply ,

        So u mean im foreigner but still can sell tat hdb house rite? So how abt my mother in law? Any thing need to share with her?

        Thank you for ur advised


        May Lee

  • Thank you Mr Guan

    I shall inform the housing about this and see how it developes.

    You have given me hope of a quick solution to this messy matter.

    Once again, thanks and have a nice day

  • Hi,

    I’m currently single and own a hdb flat which is already fully paid for. I’m intending to will my hdb flat to my niece. I would like to enquire on the following:

    – my niece is over 21 years old but she is not eligible to own a hdb flat as she is below 35 years old and unmarried. As I willed my hdb flat to her, will hdb force her to sell the hdb? How long can she keep the hdb for?
    – My father who is 90 years old, is the sole occupier of the hdb and if my niece doesn’t want to sell the hdb as she wants to let my father to continue staying in the flat, is this possible?
    – I read somewhere online that the flat can only be kept up to 6 years from the date of deceased. Is this true?


    • Hi, Jane

      Technically you need to sell the HDB if you cannot find a person who does not meet HDB eligibility. If it is for your father’s stay, can you will to him?

      • Hi Ivan,

        Thanks for your reply. I would like to will the hdb to my niece. Will HDB allow my niece to let my father continue staying in the house and only sells after my father pass away?

  • Hi Mr Guan,

    I do not know whether my query is relevant here.

    We were divorced around june 2015 and the court ruled that the hdb flat be sold within 6 months. I have engaged an agent to sell the flat but there was no headway till today. Reason for this was my wife’s refusal to sell or vacate the flat.

    What is HDB’s ruling on this stance and what should I do to effect the sale.

    Thank you

    • Hi, Peter

      This is more about a legal issue rather than HDB rulings. If the court has ordered the HDB to be sold, your ex-wife should comply.

      Technically, this can be enforced by the court with the power of police in the extreme case.

    • Thank you Mr Guan

      I shall inform the housing about this and see how it developes.

      You have given me hope of a quick solution to this messy matter.

      Once again, thanks and have a nice day

  • Hi Ivan,

    If i owe a 99 yrs pte property while my hub is the sole owner to a fully paid hdb flat, what is goin to happen to our resp unit if either of us passes on? We have a 5yo child. Can we take over the ownership of the hdb unit or private property or the unit will need to b sold?

  • Dear Ivan,

    My wife (Singapore PR) and I (Singapore Citizen) have a fully paid up HDB apartment. We have 4 children who are minors (all below age 21- all Singapore Citizen).

    Can I will my apartment to my children? I have no relatives who are living in Singapore. (All of them are living in other countries and are not Singapore Citizens).

    • Hi, Gerard,

      You can will your HDB but your children can’t be the owner of the house due to HDB rules. So practically you will the sales proceeds of the house to your children.

  • May I check?
    My parents in their 60s are joint owners of a 3rm hdb flat which is fully paid up.
    My unmarried sister is staying with them as an occupier.

    1. If my dad goes first, I understand that my mum is the sole owner. Can she transfer the flat to the unmarried sister who does not have a hdb flat as a gift?

    2. If I am the donee of the LPA for my mum, can any transfer be done successfully if my mum’s mental state is unstable or can I negate / cancel the transfer based on the LPA?

    Thank you for your help.

  • Hi Ivan,

    I would like to enquire regarding my HDB unit.

    I am single, when I was PR, I purchase a HDB unit, the owner’s name is me and my mum (She is PR also), we did not make any will, what will happened to our HDB if anyone passes away?

    It is necessary to make the will?


    • Hi, Doris

      If your HDB is under joint-tenancy. The surviving person will get the HDB. However, you should make a will if you are concerned both of you pass away.

  • Hi Ivan,

    I would like to enquire on the following details:

    1. Father and son purchased a hdb unit as joint-tenancy. They decided to sell off that unit and has found a buyer but before they did their first appointment for sales processing, the father has passed on. leaving the son as the sole owner of the property. HPS have covered the remaining balance of housing loan and settled the payment.

    a) son was told that the processing sales profits of both will be transfered to son. son’s cpf contribution will be returned. But father’s cpf money will not have any return.
    what will happen to deceased father’s cpf contribution for that property? will it be transferred to son as profit or the bank will take his money?
    b) HPS profit after sales processing will be given to the son, is there any chance that this sales profit is inclusive of deceased cpf?
    c) is there any possibilities to get a breakdown from hdb with regards to the cpf contribution for the property from both deceased and son.

    Thank you!

    • Hi, Dione

      As the property is under joint tenancy and the father passed away before the sale was completed, in general, the son should be the sole owner of the house and all the proceeds will belong to the son.

      In another word, the father’s CPF contribution should belong to the son too.

      • Hi I’m this same scenarios. If the wife is nominated for the deceased cpf. The sales money which has portions of his contribution should go back to the wife ??

  • Hi Ivan, I have 2 questions below and hope you can help advise:
    1. If i nominate my wife as the sole beneficiary for my CPF savings and both of us die at the same time, who will get the CPF savings?
    2. My wife and I own a HDB under joint-tenancy. If both of us die at the same time, who will get the HDB?

    Thank you very much for your advice.

    • Hi, Ryan

      In general, the law considers the older one dies first. So assume you are older, your wife will get your asset, and then your asset will be merged to her estate and be distributed according to her will or intestacy act (if no will).

  • Dear Mr.Guan,
    My partner made a will n a poa for me. We been living together for 20 years n we went to the chinese custom marriage n we plan to rom after his discharge from hospital . Suddenly he went for an emergency brain surgery which result in mental incapacity. Now the sister are applying through the OPG to become the donee . Am I eligible to appeal to court to be the donee . All his relaxations friends colleagues knew that I’m his wife but doesn’t know that we are not legally married

    • HI, Ms Tan

      The will can only take care of asset distribution after death, but not when the person is alive. I am not able to advise if you can be the donee as I am not familiar with mental incapacity act.

  • Dear Ivan,

    Thank you for the informative article and thank you in advance for your advice.

    My grandfather passed away in 2015 and I am a beneficiary in the will. The main asset is the HDB flat. One of my uncles is the executor and also one of the beneficiaries. He has moved into the flat. All beneficiaries, myself included, agreed to that while he process the sale of the flat. He has also received a grant of probate but I am not sure when was that.

    However, almost 2 years have passed and there have been no movement from the executor in putting the flat up for sale (no advertisements on the property portal, no property agent appointed).

    I checked with HDB and received the following advice from HDB – “We wish to share that in general, the executors have 1 year from the date of transmission to transfer the HDB flat to eligible beneficiaries or dispose of the property.”

    My questions are:
    (i) What recourse do I or the other beneficiaries have to make the executor begin selling the flat?
    (ii) Can I or another beneficiary obtain a letter of administration or grant of probate and execute the will – i.e. sell the flat and distribute the proceeds according to the will?
    (iii) What does HDB mean by “date of transmission”? What will HDB do after the 1 year has lapsed?
    (iv) Is HDB entitled to repossess the flat?

    • Hi, Chris

      It is best for you to find out from your uncle why he is not selling the flat. Of course, as the beneficiary, you have legal right to challenge him as an executor but it will be costly and messy.

      Typically, HDB won’t intervene the selling of the flat, they will just wait for your uncle to take action to sell it.

  • HI Mr Guan,

    My Brother have house under tenancy in common with his step son. Brother is not working as is in his sixty, so they have rent out the room for some income. My brother has been paying the bill and the medical fees. Recently the wife had passed on and left her share of the house her son. But the son refuse to work and have taken the rental income to spending without leaving anything for my brother. My brother wants to sell the house but the step son refuse to sell. what can my brother do? Can he use the Partition of Property act and force a sell? or Can he return the house back to HDB? My brother free that the step son is making him do all the work and not contributing. He want to sell and split 50-50 and go his separate way.

    Please advise.
    Thank you.

  • Hi Mr Guan

    I need your expert advice as my husband passed away coming to 2 years . He left no bank account but only a HDB flat. We bought this house under joint tendancy and this flat is already fully paid.

    More than 16 years ago, my husband has outstanding tax and gst with IRAS
    Last year, IRAS wrote to us to pay up for the outstanding tax and gst from my late husband estate but my husband left nothing beside this HDB flat. I replied and explained that my late husband has no asset or any other private estate which i sent last year. Until now, i have not hear from IRAS anymore… I am already very depressed losing my husband.

    My question is should one day i decided to sell this house or if i died, will IRAS has a hand on the share of this property sale? What is the next step i should do…

    I don’t see why IRAS got a share even if i sell the house as we, my husband and i bought this house under joint tendancy. So if any party dies, other party own the property. Isn’t it supposed to be the meaning of joint tendancy??

    Thank you Mr Guan..

    • Hi, Lyn

      Under joint tenancy, both owners have equal rights and also the same obligations. So if your late husband has outstanding debt, his creditor (IRAS) can go after his estate (the HDB flat).

      Although practically, IRAS won’t force you to sell the flat, but if you sell the flat by yourself, it is very likely that HDB will have to repay his creditor (IRAS) before they can release the proceeds to you.

  • I am the appointed Executor to my mother’s Will, She passed on more than a year ago. My mother willed her HDB property to her 4 grand children, all below 35 years, in equal shares. Non of them want to buy over the property. They prefer to buy over their own HDB properties eventually. All the beneficiaries would prefer to sell my mum’s HDB property.
    To provide a roof over his head, I had got my late mother to provide in her Will that my brother who is divorced and now single move in to stay in the apartment till he passes on. the beneficiaries have agreed to sell the property.
    My questions are:
    1) As the Executor, do I have a time frame by which I have to settle the Estate matter of my late mum.
    2) I do not want the 4 beneficiaries to be jeopardized in buying their own HDB units. Can they still qualify to buy HDB apts later , though they are beneficiaries of quarter share in a HDB .
    3) Though my brother has agreed to move out, can he create potential problems in staying put? How to prevent this?
    4) Do I still need to apply for a Letter of Probate to execute the Will.

    • Dear Kong

      Below are some general answers, hope they are helpful.

      1) There is no specific time frame generally
      2) If they only take over the sales proceeds of selling the HDB, they should not be affected
      3) It is hard to answer as this is a domestic matter
      4) Yes, you always need a letter of probate to distribute the assets under the will.

  • Hi Ivan, appreciate if you can help us with our situation.

    My father in law has 2 sons, my husband and his elder brother, both more than 35 years old. My husband’s name was removed after we were married 2 years ago and we got our own BTO (MOP less than 5 years). Now HDB is in joint tenancy between my father in law and elder brother. We are all not on talking terms with elder brother. My father in law wants to will 50% of the HDB flat to my husband. We were at the lawyers to make the will, but have been advised by lawyer that joint tenancy will supercede any will arrangement.

    1. What are the steps to be taken so that my father in law’s 50% share of the HDB can be will-ed to my husband?

    2. Any way we can seek HDB’s help to change to tenancy in common, 50%-50% share?

    3. Does joint tenancy really supercede a will?

    Thank you in advance!

    • Hi, Rossie

      Joint tenancy means both your father in law and brother in law has 100% right to the Hdb house.

      If your father in law wants to change it to tenancy in common. Your brother in law must consent, so it will not be easy.

  • Hi Ivan,

    Good evening and thanks in advance for your help.

    This is the situation.

    My parents jointly own a HDB flat which but they are both now incapacitated with stroke and dementia.

    My parents are now staying with me and under my care even though their address have not been changed on theirs ICS

    My brother is still staying in my parents flat.

    My parents did not make any will.

    My concerns are

    1) can my brother somehow transfer the flat ownership to himself and/or to sell the flat and keep all the proceeds for himself?

    2) In the event of my parents’ passing, one or both of them, what will happen to the flat?

    3) Will it be pass on to my brother since he is staying there and do not own any flat himself while i am already an flat owner?

    4) Is it true that married daughter like myself have no right to claim any share of my parents’ flat after their passing?

    Sorry for the lengthy post and questions

    Really appreciate your help



    • Hi, Olivia

      Below are some general guidelines without taking into account your particular circumstance. But hope it helps clarify some doubts.

      1) can my brother somehow transfer the flat ownership to himself and/or to sell the flat and keep all the proceeds for himself?

      not likely

      2) In the event of my parents’ passing, one or both of them, what will happen to the flat?

      If one of your parents passed away, the flat will be transferred to the surviving parent. if both of them pass away, the flat will be distributed to both you and your brother.

      3) Will it be pass on to my brother since he is staying there and do not own any flat himself while i am already an flat owner?

      According to intestate succession act, both you and your brother should be the beneficiaries. But if you already own a flat, you may not be eligible to own the flat.

      4) Is it true that married daughter like myself have no right to claim any share of my parents’ flat after their passing?

      Not true.

    • Hi Ivan,

      Thanks very much for your reply,

      May i just ask further on the following,

      3) Will it be pass on to my brother since he is staying there and do not own any flat himself while i am already an flat owner?

      “According to intestate succession act, both you and your brother should be the beneficiaries. But if you already own a flat, you may not be eligible to own the flat.”

      So what could happen since i could not own the flat even though the flat is supposed to be shared between me and my brother?



  • My mil is terminally ill, her husband passed away a few years ago and flat is solely under her name, fully paid. My husband and I do not own any hdb under our names. He has one sister, who is intellectually challenged. In the event that she passes on, what will happen to the flat? If he takes over, we can’t retain the flat and buy our own. But if its transferred his sister, can he be the executor if he needs to sellnthe flat in the future since she is unable to make such decisions on her own?

    • Hi,

      This really depends on how you want the affair to be handled. Your husband can be the executor and if the flat is willed to him, he can decide what to do with the flat later.

  • Hi Ivan, countless thanks for helpin us in the matters. my current situation… my mother is sole owner of hdb flat. I am single n sole occupier . my sister is single but her name is absent. After she passes without a will, what should we do to retain the flat if we stayed single n do not apply any properties? We decided to live together with mom till her passing n NOT sell the flat after that.

    • Hi, Rain

      If you want to retain the flat, the easiest way is to let your mother write a will. It is unlikely for you and your sister to co-own the house after your mom’s passing based on intestacy law.

  • Hi Ivan,

    I have some question as per below.

    1) My current HDB is joint owner of my Mum and My Dad, so if either one passed on, does the monthly repayment loan required to continue for another owner?

    2) In the event, if both owner of the flat had passed on, they have 2 children aged above 21 years old and are singaporean, will they be inherit the flat without any will been made? Will the out-standing loan be payable to their children?

    3) If both owner had inherit their flat to their children whereas they had already owned another HDB flat or private property, what will happen to the inherit flat?

    • Hi, Bryan

      1) Normally for HDB owners, they are under Home Protection Scheme. If they do not cancel the policy, there won’t be outstanding loan as the insurance will pay out.

      2) It has to be assessed in totality with other estate. In general, the 2 children are entitled to the house but they cannot co-own the flat, so the administrator needs to decide how to deal with it.

      3) Are you saying what will happen if the beneficiary already own a HDB? likely the HDB he or she inherited will have to be sold.

  • Hi Ivan….
    Just want to know how long does the process of returning the flat back to HDB takes… As my sister the administrator of my late mom house is urgently needing the money to pay for the new housing loan.. Its been about 4 month she last went for the HDB apointment. Is the process really take a alot of time to clear everyting? Feeling pity for my sister as she has been struggling alot to make the payment…

  • I have applied the HDB flat with my parent as HDB does not want to loan HBD loan to them due to their age. Thus my name was added.

    my parent has used their CPF as downpayment and the rest of the installaments were paid by me till today.

    now my mum has pass on and my Dad forced me to sel the flat.

    Need your advise, what will happen to the sales proceeds?
    Do i have nothing or half or??


        • Can my dad sell the flat without my consent?
          i do not want to sell the house.

          Can share what are the aleternative to get his name out of this flat if he wants to be out?


          • I am above 35 yrs old, can i own this flat under just my name?
            Meaning taking out his name in the house.

            Taking out, not selling.. is this possible?


          • Hi NGie

            I think it is best for you to check with HDB directly and explain your circumstance. They are the best party to resolve your problem.

          • Hi i have the same issue as u.. in the end.. i force my dad and his bitch to buy over my share and i quit out of it. Have to seek hdb for help in this.

  • Hi Ivan,

    I have applied a BTO with my mum. Appointment for selection have been done.
    My question is if my mum pass on before key collection. What will happen to the BTO flat?

  • Hi, would need your advise, my hdb is paid up and I paid 2/3 of the flat using my CPF if in the event I passed on, will my hb inherit the flat in full (we are joint tenancy)? we have 2 children (below 21), how do I go about to will my 2/3 part of the flat to them instead?

    thanks in advance.

    • Hi, Joyce

      Your husband will inherit the flat in full if you are under joint tenancy.

      You can will the flat to your children, but it won’t be effective as they are not eligible for HDB yet. If you want to leave them something, it is better to buy an insurance and use the payout.

  • Hi Ivan,

    My Mum have passed away, leaving a will to distribute her HDB flat between my brother and me 50% each. I am the sole executor for the will and I already have the Grant of Probate.

    I have been getting different answers in terms of the sales proceeds.

    My questions is after the sales of the flat, will HDB pay all the proceeds to me to distribute? or HDB will follow strictly on the will, issuing two cheques for my brother and me?

    As I have paid in advance certain funerals & misc. cost that I would need to deduct from the proceed.

    Some agents have says to use lawyer to settle the distribution, it is legal for me distribute any lawyer?

    Hope you can shed some light.

    Thank you


    • Hi, Terence,

      Just to understand the situation. Since you have already got your grant of probate, you should have already engaged a lawyer for asset administration, have you consulted that lawyer for advice yet?

      • Hi Ivan,

        The lawyer only assist up to the stage of Grant of Probate. For asset administration is another cost.

        Just got off the line with HDB call centre. Have been told that if I am to appoint HDB as the lawyer to process the sale, the cheque will be made payable to the Estate of my mum & I would need to liaise with the bank to proceed on how the get the account open.

        If I were to appoint a lawyer to process the sale, HDB will make the cheque payable to the lawyer firm & the lawyer will distribute accordingly to the will.

        Is this correct?

  • Hi Ivan,

    So even if the young children are already listed as joint occupiers if the house, if the parents Both pass away, the children die to agree below 21,cannot take over our continued to live in the hdb?

    Would private or ec be any different?

    Thanks so much for replying.

    • Hi, Raymond

      To take over HDB, the beneficiary must obey HDB rules. For private property, if the child is below age 21, he or she can inherit the property but it has to be held on trust till the child becomes an adult.

  • Hi! My mom passed away on 2 Nov 15. As per will my sister is the executor. We have already received probate from court. Now in process of selling flat. We 4 siblings are the benefactors as indicated in will. My sister, the executor is also 1 of the benefactor. All of us are not in good terms. What I want to know what will happen after selling of the flat. How will the amount be distributed to all four of them . What does it mean the cheque will be issued to the estate. I don’t understand the term. Will be grateful to u can explain the procedure. Thank you.

    • Hi, Santhi

      Normally, the proceed will be passed to executor to distribute. If you are not in good terms with executor, you should request document proof for the amount to be distributed.

  • I understand that if my dad passed on, my mum being the joint owner will be the sole ownership of the house. Thereafter if my mum passed on, the house will be distributed to their children, namely my brother and I, since their parents aren’t around anymore.

    However, under the HBD eligibility criteria, if I have a joint ownership with my husband, I will not get a share of my parents’ house. Am I correct?

  • hi, my dad just passed on 40 days ago and my 2nd brother is the Administrator of my dad’s HDB flat now . My mom passed on 2 years ago. Can my 1st brother claim his proceed from the sale of my dad’s HDB flat . He won a court case against my father 10 years but my father have no money to pay him at that time. Can he now lay a claim on the proceed of sale of my father’s HDB flat ?

  • Madeline bought a bought in 2000 and got in 2007. She willed the flat to be sister instead of her husband who is angry. Can the will be made invalid. If its invalid then how will it shared.

  • What happens to the outstanding HDB loan amount borrowed from HDB if I die (I am the sole provider). The current loan is serviced with CPF funds. What if it is repaid monthly via cash?

  • Hi my Husband and l has just get bto flat ,with his parents and 3 children along . I need to know is my Husband only owner the rest accupier (who will get the house when he pass away or if we divorce.

  • Dear Ivan,

    Thanks for answering so many queries on HDB rules and ownership. Appreciate if you can clear my doubt. My aged dad who is the sole owner (widower) has willed his HDB flat to my son (his grandson) who is 27 years, Singapore citizen and is an occupier of the flat with my dad and is single. Since he is not eligible to own a HDB flat, what are his options when my dad passes away. What complications will Minimum Occupation of 5 years pose if it is not reached at time of death. Thanks

    • Dear Ramiah,

      That is a good question. If your son is not eligible for HDB flat, selling the house and take the cash proceed may be the best way. But I am not sure how the Minimum Occupation Period is dealt with in such cases.

  • Hi,
    If my dad is the sole occupier, and my mom is neither a Singaporean or PR, will she be able to retain the flat after my father’s passing or will she be forced to sell the flat? As children we have our own flats so we cannot own two flats either.

  • Hi,I hv stayed with my boyfriend for 20yrs and not married. He and his dad is joint tenant.

    My boyfriend want to give his share to my when he pass on, can he do so?

    • Dear Bee,

      If your boy friend and his father is joint tenant, each of them own 100% of the HDB. When he passes on, the HDB will be automatically transferred to his father.

  • Hi,
    My mum and dad are joint tenants for the HDB flat. They divorced and was stated that my dad will transfer the flat to my mum provided that she pays him the CPF money. She did not complete this procedure and she passed away recently. My siblings and I stay in this flat (above 21 years old), can we still transfer it to our names if we pay our dad the CPF money? Do we require a lawyer to do it?


    • Hi, Ann

      If the flat were in joint tenancy between your mum and your dad, it is likely your dad is the sole owner now. If you want to take over the flat, you need to first be eligible to a HDB.

      If you can qualify, you can purchase the property from your father.

  • Hi, I would like to ask that my sister’s husband just passed on leaving his wife and 8 month child behind. Their keys collection will be the in a few weeks time. Husband is the sole bread-winner, whereas my sister is an occupier for the flat. Will she be able to collect the keys still?

  • Hi, my father recently passed away last October and the ownership now goes to my mum, (balance payment considered paid) death cert submitted.. already under the name of my mum.. do i need to do anything else? or get any paperwork done? they send a letter of getting some papers frm hdb(i forgot what its called) (it said to be optional) . is that necessary? and for what purpose?

  • My mother had problem with HDB on the key collection to her flat at kallang vista as my brother refused to the share of 60/40% for tenant in common. He insisted to stick to the current flat joint tenancy whereby my mother added his name when my father passed away.
    Can you advise me what action can be done

  • Hi, I have an enquiry. My uncle n his wife is in the process of divorce. The current they have is fully paid n was transferred from my dad to my uncle. Does my uncle need to sell the flat or can he retain the flat? And also they have a son. What will happen should my uncle pass on?

  • Hi there, I came across your site and will like to seek your guidance. My parents whom are both old age and retired have just bought a new flat under BTO and neither of the children are listed as occupant/ co-owner. In case both of them pass on, I’ll like to know how will the government or HDB distribute the flat? Will it be automatically pass on to their children? Thanks.

  • Hi, we are a couple about to get married. My partner had a previous marriage and under hdb check, the sole ownership of the flat only shows his name.

    Under occupiers, first name is his ex wife and second is his daughter under age of eighteen.

    I would like to enquiry,

    1. Sole ownership of the flat and being the flat owner,will his ex wife have any shares of the flat shall we sell the hdb or if he passes away? Will it be given to the occupier whom is his ex wife and daughter under18?

    2. Do I have to change the occupiers to exclude his ex wife and add in myself as his legal wife once we are marry? If I do not,will the hdb be given to his ex wife shall he passes away as her name is the first occupiers? (She doesn’t stays in it since divorce many years ago)

    3. Will exclusion of his daughter including his ex wife affects his daughter share of the flat with me as his legal wife shall he passes away?

    4. What should be the proper status of the flat shall we wants it to be just the ownership of him and me , excluding his ex wife in case of any dispute if any mishaps happens to him?

    Thank you

    • Hi, Angel

      Instead of deciphering the complex HDB rules, I think your problem can simply be solved by 2 steps:

      1. Go to HDB to change the ownership to be joint name of you and your husband-to-be once you got married.
      2. Have a simple will to state the intention of dealing with the flat upon his demise.

  • hi Ivan,
    can I ask u.. my ex hubby & I buy a house before… & now the house belong to my ex hubby & my Son… but heard dat my Son is under occupier because he is under 21yrs old… now my ex hubby pass away… how is the HDB? izit all to his current Wife… but his current Wife not a PR just a Long term pass

    • Hi, Jamie

      You need to first confirm if your ex-husband has a will. If not, the house may have to be sold. You also need to confirm if his property is under his sole name, if not, there may be other complications

  • Court order indicated husband to have the flat provided husband take over the outstanding loan and refund ex wife all the cpf used for the flat. Husband had passed away recently without completing the transaction. The question is will the flat be passed on to the ex wife,

    • My question is, my grandad pass away too long ago, now there is no owner to the flat just administrator (my 2 uncles). My mom, my grandma n her current husband is staying there . Does my heartless uncles have the power to get my mom to leave the flat?

      • Hi, Farah

        You need to confirm who owned the flat previously. Since you mention administrator, I assume that there was no will. In this case, you also need to establish who are the beneficiaries first.

  • I note this article and would like to ask if
    The deceased’s had made a will and pass on, the flat goes to his wife (joint tenancy) . However in his will, there is no part of the asset that goes to his wife (He passed on in the midst of a divorce). As his will executor, do I need to get a probate to sell half of his flat and distribute his 50% of the flat according to his will or leave the flat out?

    • Dear Sean
      “In a midst of a divorce” may make it a complicated matter. Since you are his executor, you should have engaged a lawyer for the probate.
      It is better for you to consult that lawyer as he or she has all the details of the case.

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