#asinglelove:The Directory


Useful information for single unmarried mothers in Singapore

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Illegitimacy, Inheritance and Will

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What is illegitimacy and how does that affect me or my child?

  • A child is considered “illegitimate” by the law if born to unmarried parents. Illegitimacy affects the child’s ability to inherit their parent’s assets and to claim maintenance from the parent’s estate. Illegitimacy may also carry a social stigma.
  • To avoid this, all parents, especially single parents with illegitimate children, should make a will to ensure that assets are passed on to children, and that children are appointed a trusted guardian to take care of them if parents pass away before the children reach 21 years of age.
Non-Muslims Muslims
Definition
  • Child is born to unmarried parents
  • If you subsequently marry the biological father, your child becomes legitimate on the date of marriage
  • Child is born to unmarried parents, or born within 6 months of marriage
Law
  • Intestate Succession Act
  • Family Justice Court
  • Muslim Intestate Law (faraid)
  • Syariah Court
Consequences of illegitimacy
  • Lower priority for inheritance of parents’ assets compared to legitimate children
  • Unable to apply for maintenance support from deceased parent’s assets
  • Likewise, parents are not entitled to their illegitimate child’s assets
  • Child can inherit their mother’s estate
  • Child cannot inherit their father’s estate, even if the father has no other legitimate children
Legal Adoption
  • You or step-parents can legitimise your child by adopting them
  • Adoption will not change the legitimacy status of the child under Syariah law
  • Adopted children are also not entitled to their adoptive parents’ assets but are entitled to a share of their biological parents’ assets
  • Conversely, their biological parents and siblings are also entitled to a share of their assets, while their adoptive parents are not
Writing a Will – Purpose
  • Parents may execute a will to gift part or all of their estate to their illegitimate children
  • Parents may execute a will to gift up to maximum 1/3 of their estate to their illegitimate children
  • Parents can also gift their illegitimate children assets while they are still alive
Writing a Will – Requirements
  • Made by someone above the age of 21
  • Signed at the end by the person creating the will
  • Made in the presence of 2 or more witnesses at the same time
  • Made by someone above the age of 21
  • Signed at the end by the person creating the will
  • Made in the presence of 2 or more male Muslim witnesses at the same time. (Wills Act does not state this requirement)
  • Can only gift up to 1/3 of their estate in their will
  • Beneficiaries of the will cannot be heirs who will get their share from Faraid

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Next steps

Non-Muslims

You can draft a will by yourself, or through a lawyer if necessary.

Muslims

The applicant must at all times provide correct information to the Syariah Court when applying for the inheritance certificate. If the applicant is aware that the deceased’s child is an illegitimate child, the applicant must not represent to the Syariah Court that the said child is a Faraid beneficiary to the deceased’s estate.

Please note that the applicant will have to provide a statutory declaration and affirm that the particulars and information provided in the application for the inheritance certificate are true and correct. An applicant who knowingly makes a false declaration may face criminal consequences.

As the distribution rules of Faraid are extremely complicated, please use the Faraid calculator provided by the Syariah Court online to estimate beneficiaries’ respective shares.

Telephone

6354 8371 (Syariah Court)
6359 1199 (MUIS)

Address

Syariah Court
Family Link @ Lengkok Bahru
8 Lengkok Bahru #03-01
Singapore 159052
MUIS
Singapore Islamic Hub
273 Braddell Road
Singapore 579702

Apply online for inheritance certificate

Apply online

Online trial calculator for inheritance

Calculate here

Legal help with application