Will or no will – How to Probate in Jamaica

June 5th, 2011 by LegalWiz | Print Will or no will – How to Probate in Jamaica


This article was taken from eHOW website.

WHO NEEDS TO PROBATE/WHY?

Probate can be initiated when 1) a person dies and doesn’t leave a will; 2) there are surviving family members that are possible beneficiaries; 3) a person dies but doesn’t have any beneficiaries to inherit his property; or 4) the appointed executors are deceased.

To represent the estate of the deceased as an executor, you must first obtain a granting of Letters of Administration from Resident Magistrate’s Court. Disputes regarding the decedent’s will are handled in the Supreme Court of Judicature of Jamaica.

PROCEDURES

(http://www.ehow.com/how_7195849_probate-wills-jamaica.html)

STEP 1
Check the Island Record Office (which is part of the Registrar General’s Department) to make sure there is no prior will filed. To proceed with Probate, the decedent must have died without a will.
STEP 2
Obtain a death certificate directly from the Registrar General’s Department. A notarized copy or a copy signed by the Justice of the Peace is not acceptable for probate matters. The certified death certificate is then filed with the Administrator General’s department.
STEP 3
Gather marriage certificates, birth certificates and death certificates of all the persons who want to be named beneficiaries of the decedent. These original documents can be obtained through the Registrar General’s department.
STEP 4
Prove your relationship to the deceased if you are a common-law widow/widower. You must present a Declaration from the Family Court of the Supreme Court. If widowed, you must not have been legally married to someone else at the time of the common-law marriage and must have lived as husband and wife, as well as cohabitated, a minimum of five years prior to the common-law spouse’s death.
STEP 5
Verify your paternity with a Declaration from the Family Court of the Supreme Court if you were born out of wedlock without a father’s name on your birth certificate. Elder witnesses can verify that the paternity was known and established while the decedent was still alive.
STEP 6
Search for a probate lawyer after being named Executor of the decedent’s estate. The executor represents the estate of the decedent and has a list of the decedent’s beneficiaries. The lawyer will present the entire matter to the Administrator General’s office, who will decide the matters regarding the estate, including property distribution.

SPECIAL TIPS

  • If the decedent is your grandparent, you should obtain your parents’ death certificates and your birth certificate before proceeding to probate.Make copies of the original documents for your legal file at your lawyer’s office. Keep the original documents with your other important papers.
  • Keep in contact with the executor so that you will always know the status of the probate procedures.
  • Only those persons that have a right to claim a valid legal relationship to the decedent can lawfully become involved in the probate process.
  • Wait until the probate has been decided before taking property from the decedent’s estate. You may be ordered to return the property to the guardianship of the executor to be distributed to another beneficiary.
  • If you are a beneficiary, you will have to allow the executor to present the matter for probate.
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8 Comments

  1. Janelle Titus

    My mother died in Miami, Fl in 2008. We are probating her Estate here, there is an appointed Administrator in the State of Florida. Do we have to go through the same process for an Estate is Jamaica? If so, can we follow the steps above, or how do we probate from America?

  2. Legal Wiz

    Dear Janelle,
    Thanks for writing in. The probating of a will or letters of Administration, whichever applies to you, can be applied for from Florida. You however should get assistance from an attorney as the stages relating to Estate in Jamaica are to be taken through the Supreme Court. All the best.

  3. Kurt

    Hi Legal Wiz,
    A family member has dies and left a will (we believe); how can family members who believe they may be beneficiaries get access to a will if the executor does not provide it? Just wondering if there is a legal process to compel a will to be disclosed to family members.

    Thanks.

  4. Good day Kurt,
    Thanks for writing in. Your circumstances have to be weighed to determine the legal process applicable. Usually when the will is to be probated, or if the family member applies for Letters of Administration, the will has to be presented.
    All the best!
    Legal Wiz

  5. Mark

    How long does it take (typically) to probate a will in Jamaica?

  6. Legal Wiz

    Dear Mark,
    Thanks for your question. It usually takes six months to probate a will.
    All the best!

  7. MARCHEL PHILLIPS

    I WANT TO START THE PROBATE PROCESS FOR THE ESTATE MY DAD LEFT WHAT DO I NEED TO DO FIRST AND DO YOU HAVE ANY GOOD REFERRALS? THANKS MUCH

  8. Dear Marchel Phillips,
    Good referrals have writen their appreciation on this site, but you can have others in addition. The first step is to provide a copy of the will for review. Please write further to legalwizwork@yahoo.com

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