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Applying for grant of Letters of Administration

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The law concerning probate matters is extensive and my brief notes would never be able to bring you everything on the topic.

I hope that I have satisfied your curiosity in the last few articles. However, I will mention a few other matters concerning wills that might be of interest to you. If the will is found but the executors are dead, the beneficiary in the highest order of priority must apply to the court to be appointed administrator. {{more}}The will must be annexed to the application and other documents to lead the grant. The death certificate of the named executor must be exhibited.

If the executor intermeddles in an estate and refuses to probate the will he could be compelled to take probate. However, this is in the realm of contentious probate where the matter is dealt with by the court. If the executor does not want to take on the duties then he must provide an affidavit renouncing his duties.

A will made in England, a colonial or a Commonwealth territory can be “resealed” in SVG. Resealing is a procedure by which a grant obtained in one jurisdiction is sealed with the seal of the court of another because it contains a gift that is located in that country. In short, the will could be probated in England and resealed in SVG because it refers to properties in the two countries.

Where the deceased died without leaving a will, a beneficiary could make the application to be appointed administrator. The law provides an order of priority and the person who is at the highest order must lead the grant. The order is as follows starting from highest to lowest: surviving wife or husband; children or issue of a deceased child; father and mother of the deceased; brothers and sisters of the whole blood; brothers and sisters of the half blood grandparents; uncles and aunts of the whole blood and uncles and aunts of the half blood.

If a person in the lower order is applying for a grant that person must “clear” off those persons above him, that is, he must show by affidavit evidence that a person in a higher order is dead or has renounced his duties.

For example, if one of the children of the deceased is applying to become the administrator he must show why the wife/husband (in the case where persons were married) is not applying. It could be that such person wants the offspring to make the application. In that case there must be an affidavit renouncing his/her duties. If the deceased was never married then a statement in the oath must disclose that the person died a bachelor/spinster.

A creditor can apply for a grant but there is a practice in SVG where a notice is posted in a local newspaper by the prospective applicant of intention to apply to the court for a grant. This notice invites those who have claim on the estate to come forward.

Application for letters of administration is made to the judge but the grant is actually given by the Registrar of the High Court. A filing fee of $10 is charged on each of the following: the application, valuation certificate, and will. The oath is $40 and the warrant to act, marriage, death and birth certificates are $5.00 each.

One document that must be filed is an administrator’s bond. This is signed by the prospective administrator and witnessed by two persons.

A marriage certificate is required if the applicant is a spouse. For an offspring a birth certificate must be included.

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