When a loved one passes on and they have left no clear will, inheritor or executor of the estate, letters of administration are required. These letters give you the mandate to take over the estate either as the sole heir, as the executor or as one of the heirs. Considering how crucial these letters are in such a process, it's vital that you understand how the process works so that you can initiate and execute it as explained below:
Step 1: Application for letters of administration
First, an application or the letters of administration has to be filed with the Supreme Court. You can do this in person at the registry or online via the court portal. Alternatively, you can engage the services of a solicitor who will in turn handle the application filing on your behalf. In the application, you will be required to show your connection to the deceased and why you ought to be the estate's administrator.
Step 2: Publication of notice-to-file
Once the application for the letters of administration has been received by the court registry, a notice will be filed online and in the gazette. This notice declares that you are seeking to be made the administrator of the said estate and have filed an application to be granted the letters. The notice serves to inform anyone out there who may feel that you do not deserve to be granted the letters to come forth.
Step 3: Summons hearing
Once the notice has been published, a summons hearing is held within the period stipulated by the notice. Here, anyone with any objections to you being granted the letters of administration to the deceased's estate is allowed to come forth and register a protest. The summons also allows anyone who thinks that they are a better candidate for the letters to claim their case. If no one show up for the summons, your application proceeds uncontested. If anyone protests, the judge handling the application deliberates who deserves to be granted the letters based on their connection to the deceased.
Step 4: Grant of letters
Once the application period is over and the notice has gone through unchallenged, or challenged and maintained, the Supreme Court, in line with the Succession Act, will provide you with the grant of letters of administration. This grant will allow you to henceforth administer the estate of the deceased in a fair and just manner.
Step 5: Notice of new administrator
Upon granting you the letters of administration, the court will then publish another notice, this time to announce that the deceased's estate has a new administrator. This notice allows creditors, partners, debtors, and the public to know who is now in charge of the said estate.
Once all that is done, the process is now complete and you become the bona fide administrator of the estate.
For more information on estates and wills, contact a solicitor with a firm like Marino Law.