QUESTION: Dear Legal Wiz

My grandfather passed away last year. My mother is now asking me to assist as the executor had died before my grandfather. The Courts told me to apply for Letters of administration. Can you help me with obtaining a title or any other necessary documents? What are the fees and processes to do so?

MARLON Maragh

RESPONSE: MARLON

Thank you for communicating. Before registered title can be transferred to either your mother or your name, you will need to obtain Letters of Administration for the property.

According to The Administrator-General’s Act it is the duty of the Administrator General to administer the property in situations such as yours. When there are no ‘minor’ beneficiaries, consent can be granted to an adult applicant for grant of letters for administration with will annexed. Your situation is being treated as if no executor was named in the Will, or where the executor named, is not willing to act.

The Letters of Administration gives you to act with authority over the estate (property and all assets owned by the deceased). You can see a list of your duties to be carried out at the end of this article, and a link to details on the Administrator General’s website site (http://agd.gov.jm/administrationOfEstates.aspx).

The Letters of Administration is applied for through the Supreme Court and with the services of an Attorney. There is an order of priority for applications. Under the Intestates’ Estates and Property Charges Act, the primary beneficiaries are the spouse and children. The spouse comes first, then the children, before aunts and any other relative. In your case, your mom is considered to have priority. You are the grandchild seeking to proceed and therefore need something in writing from your mom approving your action.

You or someone on your behalf and with notarised documented permission should therefore make an application for grant of letters of administration at the Supreme Court.

Procedures to apply

PROCEDURES to apply for Letters of Administration where executor died or cannot perform according to the Will of the deceased.

FIRSTLY:

The first step is to apply to the Administrator General for the Administrator General’s Certificate. For this you need;
1.Your Oath called the Oath of Administrator;
2.Proof of Death of the deceased i.e. Certified copy of Death Certificate of the deceased;
3.The Form of Particulars for the Administrator General which gives details of the circumstances surrounding the deceased’s death, particulars of the deceased’s relatives and the properties owned by the deceased;
4.Certified copy of death certificate for the executor. This is needed in your case, because the executor appointed, predeceased the testator or died subsequently without probating the Will.
5.Deed of renunciation, duly signed by the executor, stamped and recorded at Island Records Office. This is in where an executor who has been appointed under the Will refuses to act. (In event 4 above is not applicable to you).
6.A application fee, which to date is $2,000.

SECONDLY:

Once you have obtained the Certificate of Administrator General, you will file/lodge this document together with the following at the Supreme court.
– the Oath of Administrator,
– Death Certificate of the deceased and
– another application fee of $2,000.00

THIRD: Fees to note:

Before the Grant of Probate is issued by the Supreme Court Stamp Duties of approximately 2.5% – 6% of the value of the Estate owned by the now deceased are payable to the Stamp Office on the Grant of Letters of Administration. Once Stamp Duties are paid on the Grant of Letters of Administrations, the Supreme Court will issue the Grant of Probate.

OTHER FEES INCLUDE:

Estate Duties (or Death Tax) of 6% of the value of the Estate. This Tax is required to be paid before the property can be transferred to the beneficiaries. If Death Tax or Estate Duties are not paid on the deceased estate one year after death, a 6% interest is accrued each year on the Estate duties payable.
Attorney’s fee which can range between 5% to 8% on the value of the Estate.
Advertising fee for insertions of adverts for Creditors and miscellaneous cost of a minimum of $5,000.00.
Court fees of $2,000.00 upon the filing/lodging of the Oath of Administrator.

MORE INFORMATION FOR YOU:

DUTIES WITH POSSESSION OF LETTERS OF ADMINISTRATION

(More details here http://agd.gov.jm/administrationOfEstates.aspx)
1. To collect assets and pay debts
2. Management, investment and preservation of assets until all minors attain the age of majority:
3. To distribute to beneficiaries

NOTE: Duties of an Executor versus duties of Administration….

1. Duties of an Executor and duties of Administration are similar. However, whereas the Executor can begin to wind up the Estate before he obtains Probate, one with Letters of Administration canNOT wind up the Estate BEFORE he gets Letters of Administration.
2. The Executor can wait until one year after the deceased’s death to act, but must do so after one year of the deceased’s death or he/she can be sued by the beneficiaries.
3. Both the Executors and the Administrators must ascertain all assets and liabilities of the deceased, and ensure that the deceased’s wishes are carried out in the manner and form that the deceased would have if he/she were alive.

USEFUL LINKS:

Applying for Probate in Jamaica
Apply to Register land in Jamaica
Administration of Estates at THIS LINK

EDITOR’S NOTES:

Intestacy – where an individual dies without leaving a Will.

Legal Wiz

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Anthea
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By Anthea

... qualified & experienced in journalism, creative writing, editing, the arts, art critique, paralegal, photography, teaching, research, event planning, motivational speaking, workshops for children and adults, visual arts etc. Click here for contact form. ...or email me here

4 thoughts on “How do I ‘administer’ Jamaica land when an executor dies”
  1. I have question rather than comment and would appreciate receipt of an answer

    Can one submit a request for a letter of administration without the use of an attorney? What If you are unable to retain an attorney what are the options available to an individual who needs this matter addressed.

    How long does it take to process or have an estate administered on when the deceased died Intestate?

    have a great day and looking forward to your response.

    God Bless

  2. DEAR VINNETTE LEWIS: Thanks for writing in. The information above deals with your query in part. You can apply without an attorney, if you know what to do and have someone with experience to guide you along.
    Members of the Legal Wiz team can assist you for nominal fees in preparing your documents and you can rely on an attorney for further guidance as necessary. There is also at least two Legal aid clinics ready to assist you further.

  3. I have a question. My mother died partial intestate. Mother had 5 children one of whom predeceased her. how does section 8 of Intestate Estate and property charges act governed by hotchpot principle ties into this partial intestacy

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