Nuncupative Will

A nuncupative will is a will that has been orally conveyed by a testator prior to death before witnesses, and later reduced into writing.

They are also known as oral wills.

Nuncupative wills are generally not valid wills under Singapore and cannot be executed.

The exception being that they were made or declared by soldiers during active military service, or seaman at sea. In that case, a probate process can proceed if certain criteria are met.

If a person has not created a legal will and dies, oral will are generally not accepted by the courts. Instead intestate laws would determine how assets left behind would be distributed to beneficiaries.

However in certain circumstances, a nuncupative will can be valid.

This can occur when it is a copy, reconstruction or draft of an original legal will that is signed by the testator that is unavailable to a court for justified reasons.

One possible reason for this unavailability is that it is held up in foreign courts for distribution of assets belonging to the deceased in another country.

It should also be noted that a donatio mortis causa does not hold similar status as a nuncupative will, with the later being more of a gift.

When in doubt concerning the legality of wills, it is best to consult the advice of a lawyer.

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