A letter of administration is the legal authority granted to an individual-usually a next of kin- to administer to the estate or properties of a person who died intestate (without a will). Through a letter of administration, the administrator is able to have access to and act upon the assets of the deceased. Note that while being a next-of-kin does allow you to be in the best position to initiate the process, it does not allow legal authority upon the deceased’s assets. So it is very important to have it in that unique situation.
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A letter of administration can only ever be processed in the state that the deceased resided in. Also, the letter can only be granted to two persons and not one person at a time. So have a designated co-administrator on hand who you should keep informed of every step of the process.
Here is how to initiate the process:
- Proceed to the probate section of the state high court. If you are in Lagos, that would be Lagos Island or Ikeja.
- Make sure to write an application requesting the issuance of forms pertaining to the process such as name, address, phone number and email address of both administrators.
- Make a photocopy of each administrators’ means of identification such as a driver’s license, international passport, voter’s card or national identity card.
- Provide a photocopy of the death certificate of the deceased or an affidavit to that effect.
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- You must have at least two passport photographs of the deceased as well the proposed administrators.
- Pay for the form fee and follow the instructions given at the probate registry.
Note that the process is smoother with a lawyer in it, so you are well-advised to have one. The estates of the deceased will be accessed for their value and the state will get ten per cent of the value at the completion of the process. Also at some point in the process, you will be required to make newspaper declaration for a month, in order to avail for objections to your claim. Have two on hand and make sure at least one has landed property.
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