Estate Planning

Estate Planning

After the death of an individual their estate must be dealt with. If the person died testate (they left a valid Will) then the Will has to be probated. The effect of the grant of probate of the Will is that the executors will then be in a position (after paying all the government taxes and testamentary expenses) to share the estate among the beneficiaries in accordance with the wishes of the deceased as stated in the Will. Where the deceased has left no Will they are said to have died intestate. In the absence of a Will the laws of intestacy determine the manner in which the estate is to be distributed.

The death of a loved one is an emotional and difficult time for all of us. We regard it as  important that the Attorney-at-Law who is contracted to deal with the estate has the knowledge and expertise to coomplete the process expeditiously. On the grant of probate or letters of administration, we assist and advise the executors to ensure that the estate is distributed in accordance with wishes of the deceased.


FAQ (Frequently Asked Questions):

How long does it take to complete the probate of a Will or to get letters of administration ?

If there is a Will which has been professionally prepared,  it can be probated within 4 to 6 months (barring any court delays). Where there is no Will it could take between 6 to 12  months to obtain letters of administration. The delay may be due to the need to get information from organisations such as banks, building societies and insurance companies. The time for completion of the process may be affected by several other factors:

  • Whether or not the deceased’s financial affairs are in order.
  • The existence of legal disputes, such as claims against the estate.
  • Property owned by the deceased and its location.
  • The payment of transfer tax.
  • Whether the deceased had interest in business etc.
  • Back log in the courts in Jamaica often causes delays in grants.

In the event that probate becomes contentious (eg. dispute amongst family members over property) our legal team will also provide representation in the court to see your matter through to completion.

Transfer Tax on Death

The executor and the administrator of an estate have a duty to pay  the  transfer tax on death that is due to be paid  to the government following the death of the individual .We will have the necessary assessment prepared by the government office concerned ,ensuring that all the deductibles are taken into consideration and advise clients to pay the sum due before interest starts to accrue, on the anniversary of the death.