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Roles of probate on deceased person’s estate administration

By Bamidele Kolawole

 Probate is the legal process that verifies the authenticity of a will, ensuring it meets the necessary legal requirements. This process involves the court validating the will’s provisions, construction, and legal implications. Overall, probate serves as a legal mechanism for ensuring the orderly administration of a deceased person’s estate and the proper transfer of assets to their beneficiaries or heirs. When probate is granted, it validates and provides the grounds for the enforcement of the content of the will.

In Nigeria, probate is the legal process by which a deceased person’s will is proven in court and accepted as a valid public document. It involves the appointment of an executor to administer the estate according to the terms of the will or, if there is no will, the distribution of assets according to intestacy laws.

Probate ensures proper management and distribution of the deceased person’s assets and settles any debts or claims against the estate. It provides a legal framework for the transfer of property rights from the deceased to the beneficiaries.

The law which regulates the estates of the deceased persons is the Administration of Estates Laws of the states of the federation of Nigeria, while the procedure for the grant of the right to administer the estate of deceased persons is governed by the High Court (Civil Procedure) Rules of each state of the federation.

The Administration of Estates Laws and the Probate Rules of Procedure are made with the intent to forestall the property left behind by deceased persons from falling into the hands of unscrupulous persons and particularly those the deceased would not ordinarily wished to inherit his or her property.

The Administration of Estates Laws does not apply to the distribution, inheritance or succession of the Estate of a deceased person, whose affairs were regulated by customary law during his or her lifetime.

The Administration of Estate laws in Nigeria provides a legal system of administration of the estate of the deceased persons, which entails the verification of the claims of persons claiming to be entitled to the estate of deceased persons and subsequently grant the authority to administer the estate to the persons who have passed through the verification process at the Probate Registry.

Olubunmi Akinseye Esq

The concept probate, is by meaning, expository enough regarding the Estate of a deceased person. Whereas the office of the probate is saddled with the responsibility of administering the estate of a deceased person.

Probate as a Concept, is the legal and financial process that occurs after the death of an individual, specifically in respect of the deceased person’s properties and the estate as a whole.  Either a person died intestate or left a will behind, the probate has a role to play in the administration of the dead man’s estate.

 The probate as an administrator, is the best person or entity to approach in the settlement of the deceased person’s estate, particularly, when there is dispute and conflicting parties are fighting for the estate. At that point, the probate will move in on invitation.

The probate will appoint an officer who will take charge of the estate and give report at a specific regular interval, pending when the dispute and the interest of the various conflicting parties will be settled.

 In the case of a deceased person who left a will, it is the duty of the probate to grant the Executorship by issuing “Letter of Administration” on terms and conditions which the executors must meet before the grant and issuing of the Letter of Administration.

In a summary, the probate Play the role of ensuring that fraud is reduced to the insignificant level, possibly totally prevented from occurring at all.

The probate also ensure that the desires of the deceased person is actualized, particularly when there is a will. With the probate, a deceased person’s estate can never go to waste.

Oluwanbe Adefehinti Esq

Probate is the legal process that verifies the authenticity of a will, ensuring it meets the necessary legal requirements. This process involves the court validating the will’s provisions, construction, and legal implications.

In Nigeria, the Probate Registry, under the High Court’s supervision, has the sole authority to grant probate for a deceased person’s estate.

The individual responsible for presenting the will for probate is known as the propounder, who is typically an executor or administrator.

Through probate, the court confirms the will’s validity, enabling the executor or administrator to carry out the deceased person’s wishes as outlined in the will, see Nsefik v. Muna (2014) 2 NWLR (Pt. 1390) 151 S.C. (P. 193, paras. D-E).

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Assets: The assets left behind by the deceased are referred to as their estate.

The estate is settled during the probate process, and it can include digital assets, real estate, vehicles, and other titled assets.

Executor: The executor is the person named in the will who is responsible for managing the estate. If there is no will, the court appoints an administrator.

Beneficiaries: Beneficiaries are the people or entities who will receive the assets after the deceased’s passing. They are usually mentioned in the will.

Creditors: Creditors are the people or entities to whom the deceased owed money. They have the right to file a claim against the estate to recover any outstanding debts.

Probate Process: The probate process typically includes the following steps:

  Probate initiation: A death certificate is presented to the court, along with paperwork to initiate the probate proceedings.

  Will filing: The deceased’s will is filed with the court.

  Will validation: The court examines the will to determine if it is legally valid.

  Executor appointment: An executor or estate administrator is appointed to oversee the probate process.

  Asset identification: The executor identifies the assets of the deceased.

  Asset valuation: A valuation takes place to determine the total value of the estate.

  Creditor notification: Notification is provided to creditors who may have a claim against the estate.

  Beneficiary notification: Beneficiaries are notified.

  Debt payment: The executor pays the deceased’s debts out of the estate assets.

  Asset distribution: The remaining assets are distributed to beneficiaries according to the will or intestacy laws.

Role of Probate: The role of probate is to ensure that the deceased’s wishes are carried out and that their assets are distributed fairly among their beneficiaries.

It also provides a legal framework for creditors to make claims against the estate and for the executor to manage the estate’s finances and pay any outstanding debts or taxes.

Jerry Adeyogbe Esq

When a deceased dies either testate (with a will) or intestate (without a will), the property will be managed by the Probate under the supervision of the High Court.

Probate is therefore the process completed when a decedent leaves assets to distribute, such as bank accounts, real estate, and financial investments. Probate is the general administration of a deceased person’s will or the estate of a deceased person without a will.

An executor is commonly named in the will or an administrator, if there is no will, to complete the probate process. This involves collecting the deceased’s assets to pay any remaining liabilities on their estate and distributing the assets to beneficiaries.

Probate proceedings involves the analysis and transfer administration of estate assets previously owned by a deceased person. When a property owner dies, their assets are commonly reviewed by a probate court.

This court provides the final ruling on the division and distribution of assets to beneficiaries. A probate proceeding will typically begin by analyzing whether or not the deceased person has provided a legalized will.

Notably, where a deceased person dies testate, an executor who is typically a family member is appointed by the court as named by the testator in the will, giving the executor (s) legal power to act on behalf of the deceased.

The executor is responsible for filing the will with the probate court. States can have different rules for the timeframe in which a will must be filed after death.

 Filing the will initiates the probate process. The probate process is a court-supervised proceeding in which the authenticity of the will left behind is proven to be valid and accepted as the true last testament of the deceased.

A will typically designate a legal representative or executor approved by the court. This person is responsible for locating and overseeing all the assets of the deceased. The executor has to estimate the value of the estate by using either the date of death value or the alternate valuation date.

On the other hand, when a person dies without a will, he is said to have died intestate. An intestate estate is also one where the will presented to the court has been deemed to be invalid.

The probate process for an intestate estate includes distributing the decedent’s assets according to state laws. If a deceased person has no assets, probate may not be necessary.

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In general, a probate court proceeding usually begins with the appointment of an administrator to oversee the estate of the deceased.

The administrator functions as an executor, receiving all legal claims against the estate and paying off the outstanding debts.

The administrator is tasked with locating any legal heirs of the deceased, including surviving spouses, children, and parents. The probate court will assess what assets need to be distributed among the legal heirs and how to distribute them.

The probate laws in most states divide property among the surviving spouse and children of the deceased, and in this regard, a letter of administration is issued by the probate registry upon the completion of the application process.

Nicholas Aladejana Esq

By law every living person is permitted to write a testamentary document that speaks on how his estate would be dealt with when he’s no longer alive.

A Will is a testamentary document which spells out terms for ensuring that the real and personal properties of a person devolve on his heirs according to his express wishes and directives.

This affords the person the privilege to speak after his death, on how his properties should be shared and who to stand as the sharers.

Certain steps are required to be taken before Executors and Administrators are appointed. These steps call for an extensive work of administration, structure and procedure. The Probate Registry is the institution that handles these.

Probate is the judicial process of validating a will for the purpose of execution. Procedurally, the Probate Registry of a High Court is bestowed with the exclusive jurisdiction to administer the estate of a  deceased person who died whether with or without a Will.

The Probate Registry issues and revokes grants of probate and letters of administration of the real and personal estate of a deceased person to his personal representatives.

Probate also attends to all other ancillary matters that relate to the administration of the estate. Probate is the authority that validates the powers and functions of the executors to a Will.

It is the judicial procedure by which a testamentary document is established to be a valid Will. The Probate plays a great role in validating a Will and how it is executed. Simply, the Probate plays a role in making the wishes of a deceased person come to fulfilment.

The Role of Probate

Probate Registry is the Testaments Bank where Wills are deposited. Probate helps to smoothen the execution of the wishes of a Testator.

Probate creates structure and procedure for administering the properties of a person who dies without writing a Will.

The validity of an executor continuing to act depends on the confirmation of his powers by the grant of probable.

The probate registry is responsible for issuing a Grant of Probate to a deceased person’s executors in a testate administration.

The probate registry is also charged with the responsibility of revoking the grants of probate and letters of administration issued to personal representatives upon discovery of certain adverse facts as provided by the probate laws.

The probate registry also carries out the function of resealing grants of probate or letters of administration obtained outside Nigeria or in another state within the country.

It serves as watchdog for administrators and executors of estates of the deceased. The presence of Probate cautions greed executors and administrators as well as meddlesome interlopers who may want to trespass into the estates of the deceased.

Probate ensures justice and fairness in distribution and administration of the deceased.

Conclusion

Probate is the legal process for ascertaining the properties of a deceased person as well as validating the beneficiaries of the estate. Probate proceedings essentially focus on the validity of a Will.

Probate can be initiated with or without a will. The vital roles played by probate registry in overseeing fairness in distribution and administration of the deceased has stilled many storms in various families.

 Probate is a watch dog for the administrators and executors of the estate of deceased persons.

Ademola Ikujuni Esq

Probate is the judicial procedure by which a testamentary document is established to be valid Will. In other words, it is the proving of a Will to the satisfaction of the court.

Therefore, unless it is set aside, the probate of a Will is conclusive upon the parties to the proceedings and other parties who had notice of them on all questions of testamentary capacity, the absence of fraud or undue influence, and due execution of the Will.

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Probate is required for the administration of the estate of a deceased who died testate. The major role played by a probate is established in Felix Uwanugo Igboidu v. Morrisson Nduka O. Igboidu & Ors. (1998) – CA as the grant of an authority that validates the powers of an executor derived from a will.

It is granted upon an application made to the Probate Registrar by an interested person, either personally or through his or her solicitor.

The court in this case held that the will in contest having being admitted to probate signifies that it shows the intentions of the testator as written plainly in his will and must be upheld. In Nigeria, the Probate Registry, under the supervision of the High Court, has the exclusive jurisdiction to grant probate in respect of a deceased estate.

A grant of probate of a Will can be revoked if the grant was obtained fraudulently or where an executor obtains probate of a Will whilst an action as to its validity is pending in another competent court. In DAN-JUMBO v. DAN-JUMBO (1999) 7 SCNJ 112, the court revoked the grant of the probate on the basis that the signature of the testator was inconsistent and that the probate did not follow due process.

Ifeoluwa Ayodapo-Ajayi Esq

In death there are two types of people; the first set are those who made adequate provision and critically puts to paper their decision on how they want their assets to be distributed when they die which is termed testate in law and those who die without executing any Will due to procrastination or other unforeseen circumstances (intestate).

What is probate?

Probate is a legal procedure that ensure the validation of will in a case where the deceased died testate. It is required for the administration of the estate of a deceased and the authority that validates the powers of an executor derived from a will.

 Probate is usually granted upon an application to made to the probate registry by an interested person personally or through his lawyer. Probate can only be granted 14 days after the death of the testator.

The primary goals of probate are to ensure that the deceased person’s assets are distributed according to their wishes (as expressed in their will), and to settle any outstanding debts and taxes owed by the deceased.

In Nigeria probate process is primarily governed by Administration of Estates Law/Probate Rules, The Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, Will Act, Customary Law and case law. These probate laws regulate how the estate of a deceased will be administered to ensure that the estate is distributed according to the desires and intent of the deceased.

The importance probate plays in the administration of estate in Nigeria cannot be overemphasized, some of the benefits of probate include;

Validation of will: This presupposes that when a person dies testate, his will can only be validated through probate. It ensures total compliance to the wishes and words of the Will.

Through probate, the court can appoint executors or administrators as the case may be to oversee and manage the process of asset sharing. These persons duly appointed are responsible for identifying and inventorying the deceased person’s assets, notifying creditors, paying debts and taxes from the estate’s assets, and distributing the remaining assets to the beneficiaries or heirs.

Protection of interest: probate ensures that the interest of beneficiaries to an estate is fully protected by ensuring that the estate is administered in accordance with the law and the wishes of the deceased. This mechanism devised by probate helps prevent disputes among heirs and provides a forum for resolving conflicts that may arise during the estate administration process.

Probate is not a one size fit all, the complexity and duration of the probate process can vary depending on factors such as the size of the estate, the presence of a valid will, and whether there are any disputes among heirs or creditors (contentious or non-contentious).

Overall, probate serves as a legal mechanism for ensuring the orderly administration of a deceased person’s estate and the proper transfer of assets to their beneficiaries or heirs. When probate is granted, it validates and provides the grounds for the enforcement of the content of the will.

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