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Probate and Estate Administration in Jamaica

Jamaica Probate and Estate Administration Lawyers

We provide legal representation for clients through the Langrin & Langrin law firm, located at 93 East Street, Kingston, Jamaica.

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Probate and Estate Administration in Jamaica

Your loved one has passed away and you have some questions about having their assets transferred to you. Langrin & Langrin Law Firm can help you.

Once a person dies, they would have died either testate (leaving a will) or intestate (leaving no will). The persons entitled to the assets of the deceased person or the testator are called the beneficiaries. There are some assets that the deceased owned that will not be able to be transferred to the beneficiaries for some reason or another. Our office will advise you what assets are capable of being transferred.

Our Probate and Estate Areas of Expertise

The Langrin & Langrin law firm’s areas of expertise in Probate and Estate Management law in Jamaica include:

  • Application for Probate of Wills
  • Application for Letters of Administration
  • Notation of death of a joint tenant
  • Additional probate issues

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FAQs about Probate and Estate Law in Jamaica

What usually happens before the assets of the testator are distributed to the beneficiaries?

Whether the testator dies testate or intestate the process if fairly the same. You will need to provide our Office with the Death Certificate of the testator. A list of the assets and debts of the testator will have to be compiled. If you are unsure of all the assets that the testator owner had when he/she died, we can assist you reaching out to institutions such as the Bank and Insurance Company to verify the assets of the testator.

If you are able to locate the titles and certificates of ownership of the assets of the testator that are known to you, we recommend that you bring these along with you to your consultation visit. Whether the Testator died testate or intestate our office will apply to Court on your behalf and extract a Grant of Representation from the Court, this will allow the individual named in the Grant (called the Personal Representative) to administer the assets of the deceased. After the debts of the testator have been paid off then the balance of the assets will be distributed to the beneficiaries by the person named in the Grant of representation.

You will have to keep in mind that some or all of the assets in the estate of the testator may have to be sold to pay off the debts of the testator. You will have to pay taxes and duties payable on death to the Tax Administration of Jamaica (TAJ) before any of the assets of the testator can be transferred to you. If these are paid within the first year of the death of the testator then the usual rate set by the TAJ applies, if they are paid after the first year then penalties will apply. The amount of taxes and duties are dependent on the value of the assets of the testator as at the date of his or her death. You may be exempted from paying certain taxes and duties. We will advise you if you qualify for any exemptions.

How long will it take for the assets of the testator to be distributed to the beneficiaries?
The process usually takes about 10 months to a year. This time frame may change depending on whether your matter is particularly complex or if a protentional beneficiary offers an objection or contest to the Will or the legal standing of the Applicant in the Grant of Representation.
What happens if my loved one did not die leaving a will (Intestate)?
There are provisions in law indicating how the assets of the deceased are to be distributed, that is to whom and in what share. The law also gives a list or ranking of person who are entitled to apply for the Grant of Representation. Our office will advise you of whether you are eligible to be the applicant in the Grant of Representation or if there are other persons who are ranked higher on the list than you. You will need to provide our Office with a full list of all the beneficiaries in the testator’s estate. To ensure you have a complete list of beneficiaries and you haven’t left anyone out by accident, you will need to place advertisements in the newspaper so that any other beneficiary can be identified.
What happens if my loved one dies leaving a will (testate)?
When someone dies leaving a will this means they would have left instructions regarding what should happen to their possessions after they die. The Will always states which beneficiary is entitled to which of the assets in the Testators estate. The testator would also have nominated someone to carry out their wishes, called an Executor. The person(s) appointed as executor(s) of the will should indicate their agreement to act as executor(s) of the estate and be given the original will, so that the legal process to obtain probate can commence. This would mean obtaining legal representation for the estate as quickly as possible, having taken control of and securing the estate properties, and providing the said will and a certified copy of the death certificate for the firm. The Executor will ensure the debts (if any) of the Testator are paid off and will ensure the assets are distributed according to the Will.
Does the process stop if the executor cannot be found, has died, or has no interest in being the executor?
All is not lost if the executor is unable to carry out his/her function. There are provisions in law for other persons besides the executor to complete the administration of the estate of testator. We will advise you of what options are open to you if any of the above situations occur.
What is the probate process?

Applications for the grant of probate of wills can be filed either in the Supreme Court or Resident Magistrates Court, depending on the size and value of the estate.

Applications for the grant of probate of wills can be filed either in the Supreme Court or Resident Magistrates Court, depending on the size and value of the estate. The Application to the Supreme Court commences with the stamping and filing of the application with the oath of the executor, with the will annexed thereto having been “marked” by the executor.

The Stamp Duty rates on application for Probate and Letters of Administration in the Supreme Court will depend on the value of the property.

A Revenue Affidavit must be prepared and lodged with Tax Administration Jamaica, Stamp Duty & Administration Tax Division, so that estate duty/transfer tax can be assessed in relation to the estate properties based on their value at the date of your father’s death, and to determine if any such duty is in fact due on the estate.

Our fees for the application of the grant of probate is generally between 6-8% of the market value of the estate.

All these fees must be paid so the registration on transmission (wherein the executor is registered in transmission on the title) and the assent to devise, by which the beneficiary’s name is registered as the legal owner on the title of the property, can be prepared and effected.

What are the likely costs I will have to pay?

Here is a list of some of the fees you are likely to pay.

  • Transfer/Registration Costs
  • Death duties
  • Executor’s fees (if requested by the executor)
  • Attorney’s fees (usually 6-8% of the value of the estate of the Testator).
  • Court related fees Stamp Duty (related to the Grant of Representation)
  • Registration at National Land Agency fees
  • Accounting fees/Valuation fees
  • Cost to replace any lost Titles or Certificates of ownership of any of the assets of the testator.

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