Q: I would like to know if I can make a will and name my siblings as beneficiaries so they can inherit my HDB flat when I die. I am single and registered as the sole owner of the flat. Two of my siblings already have their own HDB flats, while another has a private property.
If it is not possible to will the flat to them, what will happen to the property after my death? Would HDB buy back the flat and then distribute the funds to my estate, and would it pay the original price or the market rate?
A: Any person is free to dispose of his property by way of a will, unless other laws apply that might restrict this freedom. Such laws would include HDB's rules and regulations governing the eligibility of ownership.
In order to inherit the flat, your siblings would have to satisfy HDB rules and regulations prevailing at the time of your death.
An express trust is one way of allowing your beneficiaries to retain a property after your death.
However, such trusts are specifically prohibited under the HDB Act, so you will not be able to create one for your HDB flat.
It would be a prudent move for you to set out in your will how sale proceeds from your flat should be divided among your siblings.
The executor and trustee of your will would step into your shoes upon your death and sell the flat at the best possible market price, as well as attend to all other legal formalities, such as executing the necessary documents upon sale. Trustees have a legal duty and obligation to distribute the sale proceeds in the manner dictated by you and set out in your will.
Amolat Singh Lawyer Amolat & PartnersSource: Straits Times, 22 Feb 2009