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What is Probate and Letters of Administration?

When a person dies and leaves an estate somebody has to deal with the estate (this includes money, property, and other possessions) by collecting all the estate, paying any debts, and distributing the estate to those persons entitled to it.

What does the term “Probate” or “Administration” mean?

The issuing of a legal document called a Grant to one or more persons authorizing them to deal with a deceased person’s estate. A grant of probate is issued where a will is left by the deceased and the will is proven to the satisfaction of a judge to be a valid will.

A grant of Letters of Administration is issued by a judge where no will has been left. These are issued to the person or persons who are entitled according to the Succession Act of the Cayman Islands to benefit from the deceased person’s estate

Why is a Grant of Probate & Letters of Administration necessary?

Persons or organizations holding money or other assets in the deceased’s name will need to know who will be entitled to it and the grant is proof that the person named in it has a legal entitlement as executor or administrator.

The grant serves as proof to anyone wishing to see it that the person named in it is entitled to collect and distribute the estate.

Who is entitled to a grant?

The Rules that govern the administration of estates in the Cayman Islands are the Probate and Administration Rules.

  • If there is a will with named executors, they are the first persons entitled to a grant.
  • If there are no executors, the next person(s) entitled to a grant is any person named in the will to whom the deceased leaves all his estate (or the remainder after the gifts have been paid).
  • If the deceased has not made a valid will, then the application for a grant should be made by his or her next of kin in the following order of priority:
    • Husband or Wife
    • Sons or daughters
    • Parents
    • Brothers or Sisters of the whole blood (the deceased’s brothers or sisters)
    • If there are no brothers or sisters of the whole blood then brothers and sisters of the half blood.
    • More distant relatives

I am 16 years old, can I apply for a grant of probate or letters of administration?

A grant cannot be issued to any person under the age of 18.

How long after the deceased death do I have to apply for either probate or letters of administration?

You have six months from the date of the death.

Can I apply for a grant on my own?

Yes, you can, but to get it right PMC345 can assist you with drafting the documents for you to file with the Cayman Islands Grand Court.