Understanding the Law
April 30, 2009
Grants from Court

We have spoken about applying for a grant of probate in relation to a will and a grant of letters of administration when the testator dies without a will. The grant is essentially the permission from the Court to distribute the estate of the deceased.{{more}}

Grant of letters of Administration.

When there is no will, it would be said that the testator has died intestate. This is not the end of the world. Don’t panic. The law operates to provide the person or persons who have beneficial interest in the estate the power to apply to the court for letters of administration. These persons are in order of priority:

The surviving wife or husband followed by,

  • Your children and the issue of any deceased child who dies before you;
  • Your father and mother;
  • Your brothers and sisters of the whole blood and any issue of a deceased brother or sister, who dies before you;
  • Your brothers and sisters of the half blood or any issue of a brother or sister who die before you;
  • Your grand parents;
  • Your uncles and aunts of the whole blood and any issue of a deceased uncle or aunt; and
  • Your uncles and aunts of the half blood and any issue of a deceased uncle or aunt who dies before you.

If these relatives are not alive or cannot be found, then the solicitor for the Treasury can claim bona vacantia on behalf of the crown.

When all these have been cleared off a creditor can apply.

Limited Grant

There might be a situation where your personal representative would have to apply for a limited grant, such as a grant pendente lite. This is where legal proceedings are pending concerning the validity of the grant or where probate or letters of administration are being recalled. Your personal representative could make an application to the High Court for a grant of administration limited to the pending suit. This is usually required where the estate has to be managed and preserved for the benefit of those entitled.

The administrator so appointed would have all the rights and powers of a general administrator but he cannot distribute the estate or part of it unless he gets the leave of the court. He must be paid out of the estate for performing the duties.

Ada Johnson is a solicitor and barrister-at-law.
E-mail address is: [email protected]