14 November, 2009
Probate and Administration Issues in
Anguilla. The Anguilla Legal Aid Clinic held another public forum last Tuesday evening at the Teachers' Resource Centre at 7:30 in the evening on the topic. The presenters were Ms Patricia Harding, Registrar of the Supreme Court, and Ms Jean Dyer, Attorney at law in the Chambers of Keithley Lake and Associates.
Ms Harding spoke on the topic from the point of view of the Registry of the Supreme Court. She explained that the court office tries to get out Grants of Letters of Administration and Grants of Probate within three months of the filing of the application. Letters of Administration are appropriate where the deceased died without a Last Will, while Grants of Probate are made where there was a Will. Delays are caused when there are inconsistencies in the names of the heirs and other parties. Problems also arise where the estates are very old. There may be no trace of a birth or a death certificate in
Anguilla. Documents may be submitted in a foreign language, or they may be photocopies instead of the required certified true copies. The Registry must work hard to ensure that the Grant is made in favour of the right person.
She stated that she has found problems arising when the Administrator gives away land to persons who are not legally entitled. She regretted that there is no tradition in Anguilla of Administrators putting notices in the newspapers, as is done elsewhere, inviting persons who have a claim on the estate to contact him or her. Administrators of intestate estates sometimes do not seem to understand that they are trustees who are accountable to the court. The result is that more and more Administrators are ending up before the court.