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Temporary Legal Guardianship (Singapore)

Updated: Feb 25, 2020

As uncomfortable as it may be to think about, it's important to consider what would happen to your children if an unforeseen event meant that both parents were no longer around. For expats, this concern is heightened when family or friends entrusted to take over the care of your children live overseas.

Temporary Guardians

In Singapore, if you haven’t appointed a temporary guardian, your children may be placed into the care of the Singapore authorities until the permanent legal guardians arrive.

To avoid this scenario, a letter of temporary guardianship can be used to appoint a friend or family member living locally, to care for your children until the permanent guardians are appointed. A properly executed letter should be lodged safely with a lawyer, family friend, or the guardian themselves.

A domestic helper should not be named as a temporary guardian, since their employment would likely cease should something happen to you.

Permanent Guardians

Permanent Guardians can be appointed under a will or a standalone legal document. It’s important that if the permanent guardians are not living in Singapore, then they should bring any and all supporting documents with them when applying to the court for custody of the children (e.g. birth certificates, passports, etc).

Protect Your Family

A template form of Temporary Guardianship Letter can be downloaded for just S$15 here.

Proceeds raised from each sale will be donated to Lakeside Family Services, a Voluntary Welfare Organisation registered under the Charities Act, providing services to underprivileged children and families in Singapore.


This material is for general information only and does not constitute legal advice. Specialist legal advice should be obtained before taking or refraining from any action as a result of the contents of this material.

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