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One year since…

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This week marks one year since I started this column. It is a public service which I enjoy bringing to you, but had it not been for the generosity and foresight of Mrs. Norma Keizer it would not have been possible. Modern technology assisted me immensely, for most of the time the articles were written or given the final touch while I was overseas. {{more}}

I am most grateful to Ms. Clare Keizer for the encouragement she gave in the early days and for perusing the first drafts. She was confident that they would be appreciated and I was not disappointed for the feedback has been very encouraging. I would like to take this opportunity to thank all my readers those in SVG and abroad for “following my articles” week after week. I would especially like to thank those who responded by e-mail or otherwise, my sister who perused them as an attorney and my daughter who proof-read as a layman, the editor, Mr. Dexter Rose and the Searchlight proof-reading team. I will continue to bring these articles as long as this newspaper will allow me and I hope that you would continue to stay with me during the time.

Some weeks ago I dealt with probate matters and this week I will like to note a few general matters pertaining to the same that would be of interest to you.

The law assists those who are beneficiaries of small estates but such estates must be of a value of $240 at the time of the death of the testator. The only problem is that by today’s standard not many persons can benefit from this law. If perhaps the bar is raised to at least $10,000.00 it might be more meaningful and could prevent the applicant from incurring too many expenses after the death of a loved one. An application has to be made to the Registrar of Probate matters (Registrar of the High Court) for a grant of probate if there is a will or for letters of administration if there is no will. There is no requirement for bond or a valuation report of estate. All that is required is an affidavit/oath containing information about the applicant and the deceased. The Registrar is required to draw up the papers necessary to lead the grant without charging a fee. However, stamp duty of $2.40 must be paid. The Registrar has to make the necessary investigation to discover the applicant’s eligibility for a grant. The law requires that the documents be laid before the judge for approval.

If for some reason parts of the deceased’s property were inadvertently left out of the application for the grant, the situation could be remedied with an application for amendment. In this case the grant must be attached to the application so that the Registrar could add the necessary details of the estate that were omitted. The grant that is kept at the Registry is also adjusted. Application could be made for a second grant if for some reason (such as death) the first administrator was unable to complete the administration of the estate. This is a limited grant and is called a grant of de bonis non-administratus. In other unusual circumstances application would have to be made to the court for a limited grant.

There are some items that do not have to be distributed by a will, for example, an insurance policy that has a named beneficiary.

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