GRANT OF PROBATE
An application for a grant of probate ("Probate") is usually made where the deceased person signed a valid will appointing at least one executor who survived the deceased. The application is made by the named executor or executors in the will.
The application for Probate requires an affidavit of the executors and sometimes affidavits of witnesses and third parties. The original will and an original or certified copy of the death certificate of the deceased must be attached to the application. If the executors have not obtained Probate within 6 months of the deceased’s death, they must obtain special leave from the Cayman Islands Court to apply for Probate, which involves an affidavit of the executors giving the reasons for the delay. If the Court is satisfied with the reasons, they will give special leave to the executors to apply for Probate (usually within a limited time of 30 days). The Clerk of the Cayman Islands Court must advertise the application for Probate, in respect of deceased persons domiciled in the Cayman Islands, in the Gazette before Probate can be granted. This advertisement discloses the names of the applicants, the date of the application, the deceased’s name, the date of death and the estimated value of the estate.
Probate will usually be granted within 1-3 months from the date of filing the application. The Court usually requests an inventory of the estate to be filed within 6 months of Probate and the executors are obligated by law to file within one year of Probate, an affidavit of accounts disclosing the manner in which the estate was administered.
LETTERS OF ADMINISTRATION
An application for letters of administration ("Administration") is usually made where a person dies intestate (i.e. without a will). Interested applicants should receive legal advice as to whether or not they have the right to apply for Administration and whether other persons may have any prior rights.
The application for Administration requires an affidavit of the applicant and where appropriate, affidavits of third parties. The applicants are required to sign a bond for at least twice the value of the estate, and at least one surety must guarantee that bond. An original or certified copy of the death certificate of the deceased also must be attached to the application. If Administration has not been obtained within six months of the deceased's death, special leave must be granted by the Court. The Clerk of the Courts is required to post a notice of the application at the Court House for three consecutive weeks. The Clerk must also advertise the application for Administration, in respect of deceased persons domiciled in the Cayman Islands, in the Cayman Islands Gazette before Administration can be granted. Both the Notice and the advertisement must disclose the names of the applicant, the date of the application, the deceased’s name, the date of death and the estimated value of the estate.
Administration cannot be granted until the expiration of 21 days from the day of the application for the grant. However, the Court may take up to 2 -5 months after the application is filed to grant Administration, depending on the case load. When Administration is granted, the Court usually requests an inventory of the estate to be filed within 6 months of the grant. The administrators must also file an affidavit of accounts, within one year of the grant, which discloses the manner in which the estate was administered.
In countries where the executors are authorized to administer the estate under a grant of probate or letters of administration (or their equivalents) the original or certified copy of the grant of probate, along with a certified copy of the will or letters of administration must be submitted with the application for resealing ("Resealing"). Where no grant of probate or letter of administration is required by a particular country, the will must be produced, certified as valid by the court of that country, and other original or certified documents confirming that the necessary recording procedures were complied with must also be produced. In addition, the following items are required: the original or certified copy of the death certificate; the list of the deceased’s Cayman assets and the respective values; an affidavit of the executors; the application for Resealing; a bond if the foreign grant was for letters of administration or its equivalent; and the affidavit of Foreign Law (if required by the Cayman court).
An application for Resealing will generally take between 4 - 8 weeks to be granted. The Court will usually require the filing of an inventory and affidavit of accounts in Resealing applications on the same basis that it does in applications for a fresh grant of probate or letters of administration.
Please note that this briefing is intended to provide a very general overview of the matters to which it relates and is not intended as legal advice and should not be relied upon as such.
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