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A person’s estate administration goes into full action when a person dies, the authority in-charge or the executor of the Will then distributes the property according to the deceased wishes. Is or her estate vests in the person or persons called to be his or her personal representatives. When a person has a Will, his or her personal representatives are named as the executor of the will. Things would get complicated in the case where no Will is present. A person will be assigned by the probate court to become the deceased’s executor. Now there is more that goes on into the whole estate administration process than just the entire naming of Will executors; documents are needed in order for executors to deal with third parties such as financial institutions. We will be tackling what these documents are and how they are obtained.

Grant of Probate and Letters of Administration

Accordingly, after the death of the deceased, his or her personal representative will be required to apply for a grant of probate. When there is no Will, meaning the deceased died intestate, then a personal representative is required to apply for letters of administration. Both documents will allow the personal representatives to deal with and distribute the assets of the deceased.

The Unwilling Executor

In the event that an executor named in a will does not want to administer, or is unwilling to act, then an interested person may apply for a grant of letters of administration with the Will annexed. A grant of letters of administration with a will annexed is  allowable when it meets the following:

  • a Will has no executor appointed
  • the executor appointed is legally incapable of acting as such
  • an executor has renounced his or her right to as an administrator
  • the appointed executor dies before the testator
  • appointed executor dies before the grant of probate is given
  • the appointed executor dies before all the estate is administered
  • the executors do not appear or apply for probate

The Probate Court

If the value of the estate of the deceased is below $5,000,000, then the application for the grant of probate or the letters of administration will be made in the Family Court. But, in the event that, the estate left behind by the deceased is beyond $5,000,000 then the application for the grant of probate or the letters of administration will be made in the Family Division of the High Court.  In the case where a resealing of a foreign grant is involved, then similar to the above $5,000,000, the application of the grant of probate or the letters of administration will be made with the Family Division of the High Court.

Important Note: grant of probate or letters of administration will not be granted to more than four persons for the same estate. The letters of administration will be given to a Trust Corporation with or without individuals or in the least two individuals if there are minor beneficiaries involved or if a life interest arises under the last Will.

The probate court will deal with the deceased estate and ensure that proper estate administration is done. A grant of probate or letters of administration secures that a deceased’s estate is distributed by a capable individual who will act according to the deceased’s Will.

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