PROCEDURE FOR THE PROBATE OF A WILL
If you are named as an Executor on the Last Will and Testament of a deceased person then you need to obtain the services of a Lawyer to make application for a Grant of probate of the Will. Note that the property of the deceased cannot be sold or transferred to the beneficiaries without a Grant of Probate.
The process involves applying to the Supreme Court of Jamaica for the Grant of Probate and the following documents are required,
- Certified copy of the Death Certificate of the deceased;
- The original of the Last Will and Testament of the deceased (if you cannot find the original, a copy can be used however, the lawyer will have to obtain the permission of the Court to use it;
- Oath of Executor. Other miscellaneous documents may include Affidavit of Plight and Condition, Affidavit of Due Execution and Affidavit of Delay;
- Revenue Affidavit
The Executor is expected to sign the will itself before a J.P. or Notary Public
Before the Grant of Probate is issued by the Supreme Court Stamp Duties of approximately 2.5% - 6% of the value of the deceased Estate are payable to the Stamp Office on the Grant of Probate.
Other fees include Estate Duties or Death Tax of 6% of the value of the Estate. Please note that this Tax is required to be paid before the property can be transferred to the beneficiaries.
Please note also that 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.
Other fees to be paid include the 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. Also payable is $2,000.00 Court fees on the lodging of the Oath of Executor.
If your relative died without leaving a Will and if you are the next of kin you can apply for Letters of Administration. This process includes applying first to the Administrator General for the Administrator General’s Certificate. The following would be required;
- Your Oath called the Oath of Administrator;
- Certified copy of Death Certificate of the deceased;
- 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;
- A $2,000.00 application fee.
As soon as the Certificate of Administrator General is obtained, this document together with the Oath of Administrator, Death Certificate of the deceased and another application fee of $2,000.00 are filed /lodged at the Supreme Court.
The Supreme Court will issue the Grant of Probate as soon as Stamp Duties are paid on the Grant of Letters of Administrations. The same fees applicable for Grant of Probate are applicable here. Duties of an Executor and duties of Administration are similar. The only difference is that the Executor can begin to wind up the Estate before he obtains Probate. However he does not have to do any thing until one year after the deceased’s death, but he/she must act after one year of the deceased’s death or he/she can be sued by the beneficiaries.
It is the Executors and the Administrators duty to ascertain the assets and liabilities of the deceased and to ensure that the deceased’s desire is carried out as the deceased would himself do if alive.