My dad passed away suddenly due to cardiac arrest about 2 years ago. He was a very “old-fashioned”, private person and handled all the household monetary matters by himself.
There were no joint bank accounts and he did not believe in having ATM cards either. Not surprisingly, there was also no LPA or Will done previously.
As such, it was not possible to withdraw his money from any of the banks. In order to do so, I learnt that I had to obtain a legal document known as Letters of Administration (LoA), to be granted the appropriate access. The LoA is necessary to administer the estates of persons who passed on without a will.
My mum, who is blind and does not speak much English, was not the best candidate for this legal process. As such, I had to handle this legal procedure.
This turned out to be quite a tedious and long-drawn process that took close to 6 months to finally obtain the LoA.
For the first 3 months, I had to visit the law firm about 5 times (including twice with my mum) to sign the various documents and application letters.
As the LoA application process is dependent on how fast we could submit the signed documents, I had to take sudden/ urgent time-off from work quite a few times. As my job requires me to travel overseas for work, there were times where I could only visit the law firm when I returned to Singapore.
Thankfully, I managed to find all the necessary certificates as we also had to produce many documents to prove our relationship with my dad (including the marriage certificate for my mum and the birth certificate for me).
If my dad had done a Will, my mum and I would not have to go through the above tedious process.
It was only later that I found out that with a Will, the cost of probate can be even lower than that for a LoA.
After the above experience with my dad’s passing, I have gotten my mum to do both an LPA and AMD as well. It was not the most light-hearted chat to have but fortunately, she understood the necessity.