Bahamas: Guide To Probate & Administration In The Bahamas

Last Updated: 16 October 2012
Article by Higgs & Johnson Counsel & Attorneys at Law

In order to distribute or take possession of a deceased person's property situated in The Bahamas a Grant of Probate or Letters of Administration must be obtained from the Bahamian Courts. Where there has been a grant of probate (or its equivalent) or a grant of letters of administration (or their equivalent) in a foreign country, with respect to a deceased person having property in The Bahamas, the personal representatives may not take possession of, or administer any part of the Bahamian property until they first obtain a resealing of the probate or letters of administration by the Bahamian Courts. When someone dies it will probably be necessary to submit an application to the Supreme Court for either a grant of probate, a grant of letters of administration or a resealing of a grant obtained in a foreign jurisdiction.

A GRANT OF PROBATE

Application for a grant of probate ("Probate") is usually made where the deceased person (the "Deceased") signed a valid will appointing at least one Executor (or Executrix) who survived the Deceased and the Executor is making the application in his or her personal capacity. In order to obtain a grant of Probate in The Bahamas, the Executor will be required to make an application to the Probate Registry of the Supreme Court of The Bahamas. In making any such application, it is necessary for an Executor to submit the following documents:

  • A Petition;
  • An Oath For an Executor containing the date and place of death, giving in the schedule thereto a description of all the property of the Deceased which will be affected by the grant applied for and stating the estimated value of the personal estate;
  • An original of the will; with two (2) photocopies of the same signed in the margin by one of the witnesses to the will.
  • An Affidavit of an Attesting Witness in Proof of the Due Execution of the Will or Codicil, and if both attesting witnesses are dead or if from any other circumstances no affidavit can be obtained from either of them, resort must be had to other persons (if any) who may have been present at the execution of the will or codicil. If no affidavit of any such other person can be obtained evidence on affidavit must be procured of that fact and of the handwriting of the Deceased and the subscribing witnesses and also of any circumstances which may raise a presumption in favour of the due execution;
  • For persons who died in The Bahamas, an original death certificate of the Deceased or a certified copy of the death certificate of the Deceased or for persons who died in a foreign country, two (2) original death certificates of the Deceased or two (2) certified copies of the death certificate of the Deceased;
  • A Bond for making a return into the registry and for paying the relevant fees; and
  • *A Return of the value of the personal estate and effects of the Deceased.

When all the papers deemed by the Registrar to be necessary in the case of an application for Probate have been filed and no caveat has been entered, the Registrar, by direction of a Judge, shall fix a day for the hearing of the application and on the day so fixed shall attend before a Judge with the papers. Provided the Judge decides to grant the application, the Registrar shall notify the applicant that upon the execution and filing of the necessary bond, the grant will be issued. If the Executor has not obtained Probate within one (1) year after the death of the Deceased, then an Affidavit of Delay explaining the reason(s) for the delay, must be submitted along with the other documents identified above before an application for Probate can be successful.

Usually in uncontested matters Probate is granted to the Executor(s) six (6) to eight (8) weeks from the date of the filing of the application. However it should be noted that no probate will be issued until after the lapse of fourteen (14) days from the death of the testator except in a case of urgency when the facts of such case shall be laid before a Judge on motion in open court.

Where the Judge decides to grant Probate or Letters of Administration, the applicant will be required, in accordance with the provisions of the Probate Act, to enter into a bond with two or more sureties in the sum of Four Hundred Bahamian dollars (B$400), with the conditions specified in the first section of the Probate Act.

Legal fees will be based on the value of the assets located in The Bahamas with a minimum fee of Two Thousand Five Hundred Bahamian Dollars (B$2,500) exclusive of disbursements.

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 have any prior rights. In order to obtain Administration in The Bahamas, the following documents must be filed at the Registry of the Supreme Court of The Bahamas:

If for administration without a Will:

  • An Oath For an Administrator of the applicant proving and stating the same facts as those required in an Oath For an Executor's affidavit, and stating the grounds on which the applicant bases his claim;
  • For persons who died in The Bahamas, an original death certificate of the Deceased or a certified copy of the death certificate of the Deceased or for persons who died in a foreign country, two (2) original death certificates of the Deceased or two (2) certified copies of the death certificate of the Deceased;
  • A description of all assets and/or liabilities of the Deceased in The Bahamas;
  • Petition;
  • Bond for Making Return;
  • *Return;
  • Oath of Administrator; and
  • Administration Bond

If for Administration with the Will annexed:

  • For persons who died in The Bahamas, an original death certificate of the Deceased or a certified copy of the death certificate of the Deceased or for persons who died in a foreign country, two (2) original death certificates of the Deceased or two (2) certified copies of the death certificate of the Deceased;
  • The original Last Will and Testament of the Deceased and any Codicils;
  • An Affidavit of Attesting Witness in Proof of the Due Execution of a Will or Codicil will have to be sworn by one of the Witnesses attesting to the fact that the Testator/Testatrix executed the Last Will and Testament in their presence (Higgs & Johnson will provide you with this form);
  • If the Executor named in the Last Will and Testament of the Deceased is not a resident of The Bahamas a Power of Attorney must be executed by the Executor entitled to administer the Estate of the Deceased (Higgs & Johnson will prepare this document once we have received items b (i) and b (ii)) appointing an Attorney or resident or citizen of The Bahamas to act on behalf of the Executor in The Bahamas;
  • A Letter of Instruction from the Executor entitled to administer the estate of the Deceased directing how the assets in The Bahamas should be distributed;
  • A description of all assets and/or liabilities of the Deceased in The Bahamas;
  • Petition;
  • Bond for Making Return;
  • *Return;
  • Oath for an Administrator with a Will; and
  • Administration Bond with a Will.

In an Administration without a Will and an Administration with the Will Annexed, the Administration Bond and the Administration Bond with a Will respectively, must be given in double the amount of the estate. If the estate is under Ten Thousand ($10,000) Dollars, one surety will be required, if it is over that amount, two sureties will be required unless, in any particular case, the Judge approves one surety only;

When all the papers deemed by the Registrar to be necessary in the case of an application for Administration have been filed and no caveat has been entered, the Registrar, by direction of a Judge, shall fix a day for the hearing of the application and on the day so fixed shall attend before a Judge with the papers. Provided the Judge decides to grant the application, the Registrar shall notify the applicant that upon the execution and filing of the necessary bond or bonds, the grant will be issued.

Usually in uncontested matters Administration is granted to the Administrator(s) six (6) to eight (8) weeks from the date of the filing of the application. Legal Fees will be based on the value of the assets located in The Bahamas with a minimum fee of Two Thousand Five Hundred Bahamian dollars (B$2,500) exclusive of disbursements.

RESEALING APPLICATIONS

An application for resealing ("Resealing") is usually made where there has been a grant of probate or its equivalent) or a grant of letters of administration (or their equivalent) in a foreign country, with respect to a deceased person having property in The Bahamas. The personal representatives may not take possession of, or administer any part of the Bahamian property until they first obtain a Resealing of the probate or letters of administration by the Bahamian Courts. In order to obtain Resealing in The Bahamas, the following documents must be filed at the Registry of the Supreme Court of The Bahamas:

  • Petition;
  • Bond For Making Return;
  • *Return;
  • Power Of Attorney (Executed by The Executor/ Personal Representative Of The Deceased's Estate);
  • Attorney's Affidavit (Outlining The Assets And The Value Of Such Assets Of The Deceased In The Commonwealth Of The Bahamas);
  • Two (2) original death certificates or two (2) certified copies of the death certificate of the Deceased;
  • Two (2) court certified copies of the Last Will and Testament of the Deceased (if any); and
  • Two (2) court certified copies of the Grant or such similar Order issued out of the Courts of the domicile of the Deceased.

When all the papers deemed by the Registrar to be necessary in the case of an application for Resealing have been filed and no caveat has been entered, the Registrar, by direction of a Judge, shall fix a day for the hearing of the application and on the day so fixed shall attend before a Judge with the papers. Provided the Judge decides to grant the application, the Registrar shall notify the applicant that upon the execution and filing of the necessary bond or bonds, the grant will be issued.

Usually in uncontested matters Resealing is granted six (6) to eight (8) weeks from the date of the filing of the application.

SAFEGUARD FOR TRUSTEES OR PERSONAL REPRESENTATIVES

Section 33 of the Trustee Act 1998 provides a valuable safeguard for trustees or personal representatives in the execution of their duties. Section 33 explains that where personal representatives wish to make any conveyance or distribution of real or personal property to the beneficiaries entitled to such property, the trustees or personal representatives may place a notice in the Gazette and in a local newspaper, requiring interested persons to submit particulars of their claims on the property.

Upon the expiration of the fixed period set out in the notice, the personal representatives will be able to distribute any of the property specified in the notice to the beneficiaries and will be bound only to have regard to the claims in respect of property of which they received notice. In addition, the personal representatives are not liable in respect of property that has been distributed in accordance with section 33, where the personal representatives did not receive notice within the time period specified in the notice.

To print this article, all you need is to be registered on Mondaq.com.

Click to Login as an existing user or Register so you can print this article.

Authors
 
Some comments from our readers…
“The articles are extremely timely and highly applicable”
“I often find critical information not available elsewhere”
“As in-house counsel, Mondaq’s service is of great value”

Related Topics
 
Related Articles
 
Up-coming Events Search
Tools
Print
Font Size:
Translation
Channels
Mondaq on Twitter
 
Mondaq Free Registration
Gain access to Mondaq global archive of over 375,000 articles covering 200 countries with a personalised News Alert and automatic login on this device.
Mondaq News Alert (some suggested topics and region)
Select Topics
Registration (please scroll down to set your data preferences)

Mondaq Ltd requires you to register and provide information that personally identifies you, including your content preferences, for three primary purposes (full details of Mondaq’s use of your personal data can be found in our Privacy and Cookies Notice):

  • To allow you to personalize the Mondaq websites you are visiting to show content ("Content") relevant to your interests.
  • To enable features such as password reminder, news alerts, email a colleague, and linking from Mondaq (and its affiliate sites) to your website.
  • To produce demographic feedback for our content providers ("Contributors") who contribute Content for free for your use.

Mondaq hopes that our registered users will support us in maintaining our free to view business model by consenting to our use of your personal data as described below.

Mondaq has a "free to view" business model. Our services are paid for by Contributors in exchange for Mondaq providing them with access to information about who accesses their content. Once personal data is transferred to our Contributors they become a data controller of this personal data. They use it to measure the response that their articles are receiving, as a form of market research. They may also use it to provide Mondaq users with information about their products and services.

Details of each Contributor to which your personal data will be transferred is clearly stated within the Content that you access. For full details of how this Contributor will use your personal data, you should review the Contributor’s own Privacy Notice.

Please indicate your preference below:

Yes, I am happy to support Mondaq in maintaining its free to view business model by agreeing to allow Mondaq to share my personal data with Contributors whose Content I access
No, I do not want Mondaq to share my personal data with Contributors

Also please let us know whether you are happy to receive communications promoting products and services offered by Mondaq:

Yes, I am happy to received promotional communications from Mondaq
No, please do not send me promotional communications from Mondaq
Terms & Conditions

Mondaq.com (the Website) is owned and managed by Mondaq Ltd (Mondaq). Mondaq grants you a non-exclusive, revocable licence to access the Website and associated services, such as the Mondaq News Alerts (Services), subject to and in consideration of your compliance with the following terms and conditions of use (Terms). Your use of the Website and/or Services constitutes your agreement to the Terms. Mondaq may terminate your use of the Website and Services if you are in breach of these Terms or if Mondaq decides to terminate the licence granted hereunder for any reason whatsoever.

Use of www.mondaq.com

To Use Mondaq.com you must be: eighteen (18) years old or over; legally capable of entering into binding contracts; and not in any way prohibited by the applicable law to enter into these Terms in the jurisdiction which you are currently located.

You may use the Website as an unregistered user, however, you are required to register as a user if you wish to read the full text of the Content or to receive the Services.

You may not modify, publish, transmit, transfer or sell, reproduce, create derivative works from, distribute, perform, link, display, or in any way exploit any of the Content, in whole or in part, except as expressly permitted in these Terms or with the prior written consent of Mondaq. You may not use electronic or other means to extract details or information from the Content. Nor shall you extract information about users or Contributors in order to offer them any services or products.

In your use of the Website and/or Services you shall: comply with all applicable laws, regulations, directives and legislations which apply to your Use of the Website and/or Services in whatever country you are physically located including without limitation any and all consumer law, export control laws and regulations; provide to us true, correct and accurate information and promptly inform us in the event that any information that you have provided to us changes or becomes inaccurate; notify Mondaq immediately of any circumstances where you have reason to believe that any Intellectual Property Rights or any other rights of any third party may have been infringed; co-operate with reasonable security or other checks or requests for information made by Mondaq from time to time; and at all times be fully liable for the breach of any of these Terms by a third party using your login details to access the Website and/or Services

however, you shall not: do anything likely to impair, interfere with or damage or cause harm or distress to any persons, or the network; do anything that will infringe any Intellectual Property Rights or other rights of Mondaq or any third party; or use the Website, Services and/or Content otherwise than in accordance with these Terms; use any trade marks or service marks of Mondaq or the Contributors, or do anything which may be seen to take unfair advantage of the reputation and goodwill of Mondaq or the Contributors, or the Website, Services and/or Content.

Mondaq reserves the right, in its sole discretion, to take any action that it deems necessary and appropriate in the event it considers that there is a breach or threatened breach of the Terms.

Mondaq’s Rights and Obligations

Unless otherwise expressly set out to the contrary, nothing in these Terms shall serve to transfer from Mondaq to you, any Intellectual Property Rights owned by and/or licensed to Mondaq and all rights, title and interest in and to such Intellectual Property Rights will remain exclusively with Mondaq and/or its licensors.

Mondaq shall use its reasonable endeavours to make the Website and Services available to you at all times, but we cannot guarantee an uninterrupted and fault free service.

Mondaq reserves the right to make changes to the services and/or the Website or part thereof, from time to time, and we may add, remove, modify and/or vary any elements of features and functionalities of the Website or the services.

Mondaq also reserves the right from time to time to monitor your Use of the Website and/or services.

Disclaimer

The Content is general information only. It is not intended to constitute legal advice or seek to be the complete and comprehensive statement of the law, nor is it intended to address your specific requirements or provide advice on which reliance should be placed. Mondaq and/or its Contributors and other suppliers make no representations about the suitability of the information contained in the Content for any purpose. All Content provided "as is" without warranty of any kind. Mondaq and/or its Contributors and other suppliers hereby exclude and disclaim all representations, warranties or guarantees with regard to the Content, including all implied warranties and conditions of merchantability, fitness for a particular purpose, title and non-infringement. To the maximum extent permitted by law, Mondaq expressly excludes all representations, warranties, obligations, and liabilities arising out of or in connection with all Content. In no event shall Mondaq and/or its respective suppliers be liable for any special, indirect or consequential damages or any damages whatsoever resulting from loss of use, data or profits, whether in an action of contract, negligence or other tortious action, arising out of or in connection with the use of the Content or performance of Mondaq’s Services.

General

Mondaq may alter or amend these Terms by amending them on the Website. By continuing to Use the Services and/or the Website after such amendment, you will be deemed to have accepted any amendment to these Terms.

These Terms shall be governed by and construed in accordance with the laws of England and Wales and you irrevocably submit to the exclusive jurisdiction of the courts of England and Wales to settle any dispute which may arise out of or in connection with these Terms. If you live outside the United Kingdom, English law shall apply only to the extent that English law shall not deprive you of any legal protection accorded in accordance with the law of the place where you are habitually resident ("Local Law"). In the event English law deprives you of any legal protection which is accorded to you under Local Law, then these terms shall be governed by Local Law and any dispute or claim arising out of or in connection with these Terms shall be subject to the non-exclusive jurisdiction of the courts where you are habitually resident.

You may print and keep a copy of these Terms, which form the entire agreement between you and Mondaq and supersede any other communications or advertising in respect of the Service and/or the Website.

No delay in exercising or non-exercise by you and/or Mondaq of any of its rights under or in connection with these Terms shall operate as a waiver or release of each of your or Mondaq’s right. Rather, any such waiver or release must be specifically granted in writing signed by the party granting it.

If any part of these Terms is held unenforceable, that part shall be enforced to the maximum extent permissible so as to give effect to the intent of the parties, and the Terms shall continue in full force and effect.

Mondaq shall not incur any liability to you on account of any loss or damage resulting from any delay or failure to perform all or any part of these Terms if such delay or failure is caused, in whole or in part, by events, occurrences, or causes beyond the control of Mondaq. Such events, occurrences or causes will include, without limitation, acts of God, strikes, lockouts, server and network failure, riots, acts of war, earthquakes, fire and explosions.

By clicking Register you state you have read and agree to our Terms and Conditions