There are occasions where a person dies intestate amassing a large amount of wealth acquired during his lifestlye which includes assets and monies in the bank without making a will or a valid will.
This can cause conflict amongst the surviving relatives of the deceased as to who is entitled to manage and administer the estate of the deceased. For the beneficiaries of the deceased to successfully manage the estate they must apply for a grant of Letters of administration. An administrator or personal representative cannot act or deal with the deceased’s estate unless Letters of Administration is granted otherwise his acts are void.
LETTERS OF ADMINISTRATION
This is a letter issued to enable the personal representatives of a deceased who died without making a Will, to administer his estate after the death. There are instances where letters of administration is needed to wit;
(a) Where a person died intestate (without making a Will) or
(b)The testator made a Will with no executors appointed.
if appointed there is none to act.
(c)When a will was made but was rejected by the court
(d)Partial intestacy due to absence of residuary clause.
DOCUMENTS REQUIRED FOR GRANT OF LETTERS OF ADMINISTRATION
1. Application for letters of administration
2. Death certificate of the deceased
Declaration on oath.
3. Oath / justification by sureties on behalf of the applicant in a specific penal sum to guarantee his administration of the estate.
4. A duly completed bond by the applicants to pay the debts and liabilities of the deceased estate, to distribute the estate and also to make inventory.
5.An authorisation by way of a bank certificate issued by the –registrar to a personal representative or applicant to inquire into the details of the bank account of the deceased.
6.A duly completed inventory specifically listing the properties the deceased person which the administrator wishes to administer
7.Evidence of Newspaper publications.
8.Passport photographs of the applicants and sureties.
9.Declaration of the next of – kin
THE PROCEDURE TO OBTAIN LETTERS OF ADMINISTRATION (WITHOUT A WILL ANNEXED)
This is the procedure to adopt where the deceased died intestate I.e without making a Will. Note that this procedure is cumbersome and would require the services of a lawyer to be done timeously since it requires a certain amount of experience which the lawyer is already accustomed to.
Furthermore, It must be noted that the type of marriage contracted by the deceased will determine who is entitled to make the application.
If the person conducted a Customary Law marriage, then upon his death native law and custom on succession of the deceased intestate’s estate will apply. Native law and custom on succession varies from place to place.
If he married under the Marriage Act, then the provisions of the Administration of Estate Law of the State where the deceased intestate was resident before his death will apply. Having noted the above, the procedure to be adopted thus;
1. An application is made to the Probate Registrar stating in a formal letter stating
a.The full names of the deceased
b.The last fixed place of abode of the deceased
c.The names of the proposed administrators
Attach a copy of the death certificate of the deceased.
d. Profession of the deceased.
e. Marital status
f. Name of deceased spouse.
The following documents shall be submitted with the Application Letter:
1.Death Certificate of the Deceased.
2.Passport photographs and valid means of identification of the Proposed Administrators
2. The applicants should collect, fill and submit the Forms from the Registrar as follows:
a.Application for grant of Letters of b.Administration (without Will annexed)
c.Oath for Administrators
e.Schedules of debts and burial expenses
h.Particulars of leasehold properties
i.Declaration as to Next of kin.
Where the deceased has shares or monies in the bank , there would be submission of the share certificate and the bank will state details of the value of the money in the account.
3. The application is published in a newspaper to notify anyone interested in the estate of the deceased that a grant of letter of administration has been sought by the Proposed Administrators.
If there is no objection, the Letters of Administration will then be granted and issued by the Probate Registrar. It must be noted that an assessment of the Estate will be conducted by the Registrar and Estate duty will be paid on the total asset -10 percent (10%) of the value of the estate
THE PRIORITY OF PERSONS ENTITLED TO A GRANT OF LETTERS OF ADMINISTRATION UNDER SECTION 49 OF THE ADMINISTRATION OF ESTATE LAW (LAGOS)
1. Surviving spouse (which could be either the husband or wife)
2. The children of the deceased or issues of the children of the deceased
3. Parents of the deceased
4. Brothers and sisters of the whole blood and their issues.
5. Brothers and sisters of half blood
6. Grand parents
7. Uncles and aunts
9. If there are no creditors, then the office of the Administrator-General of the State can apply.
Mpi Elton Chizindu Esq.