Confirmation of grants: What you need to know

Wednesday March 20 2013



This week, we continue our discussion on grants. If you recall, last week’s article explained the meaning of the terms grant of probate, which is given to a person named in a will to administer a deceased’s estate, and grant of letters of representation, given to the kin of a deceased person to administer that estate where a person dies having not left a will.

Here is more information that you will find helpful.

Once I am given letters of administration, can I transfer the property of the deceased to the beneficiaries?

It is important to understand that once a grant of probate or a grant of letters of administration is issued, those holding the respective grants do not have the powers to distribute the assets of the deceased person’s estate. For the holder of any grant of representation to be able to distribute the assets of the deceased, they must approach the court for what is known as confirmation of grant.

The Law of Succession Act provides that once six months have elapsed after the issuing of any grant of representation for the estate of a deceased person, then the holder of the grant should apply to the court for confirmation of the grant to empower such a person to distribute the capital assets of the deceased estate.

What does the court consider before it confirms the grant?

For the court to confirm any grant of representation, it must be satisfied that the grant was rightfully issued to you and that you are administering the estate of the deceased according to the law.

If the court is dissatisfied with your administration of the estate of the deceased, or is unhappy with the manner in which the grant was obtained, the court can do either of the following:

  • Issue and confirm grant to another person (s) as per the order of priority given in the Law of Succession Act. That is: the spouse (s) or the deceased’s parents, stepparents, grandparents, grandchildren, or step children;
  • Order you to transfer to the new holder of the confirmed grant all the assets of the estate in your hands or control, or
  • Postpone the confirmation of the grant until determination of any arising disputes.

In cases where there is a valid will, the court will issue a certificate of confirmation of grant.

What does the confirmed grant say?

It says that the grant has been confirmed and it shows what should be transferred to whom.

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