How to obtain the letter of administration in Nigeria?
Letter of administration is usually issued by a probate court to an executor/beneficiary, so he/she can access the account or property of a deceased person.
Say for example, an individual loses a loved one (maybe a brother, sister, father, mother, uncle, aunt), this individual can have access to the bank account of the loved one, if the loved one died intestate i.e. the loved one died without leaving a written will.
To official explain it, the letter of administration in Nigeria is the legal authority granted by the probate court to a person called the “administrator” to administer the estate or property of a person who died intestate (i.e. without a will).
If you want to know how to obtain a letter of administration in Nigeria, you have come to the right place.
In this blog post, I am going to show you a step by step method on how to obtain a letter of administration in Nigeria
What you need to know before obtaining a letter of administration
If you are the executor/beneficiary of the account of a deceased person, you can head straight to the probate court to begin the process of obtaining a letter of administration.
Before I begin with the process of how to obtain a letter of administration, I want to let you know that, it is usually not easy and in reality, might not be as straight forward as is going to be outlined in this post.
I can guarantee that if you read and understand this post carefully, obtaining the letter of administration will be easier for you.
The first thing you should know is that there are different laws for obtaining a letter of administration in different states, but the concept is usually the same. Just make sure you familiarize yourself with the administration of estate law in Nigeria.
Lagos state for example, laid down a law that persons can apply for letter of administration in order of priority. These persons are usually called next-of-kin of the deceased.
The order is as below:
- Surviving spouse of the deceased.
- Children of the deceased.
- Parents of the deceased.
- Brothers or sisters of the deceased.
- Grandparents of the deceased.
- Uncles and aunts of full blood or their children.
In cases where the beneficiary is not clear, the probate court has the authority to select anyone who they view is most suitable.
Step by step process on obtaining a letter of administration in Nigeria
To obtain a letter of administration in Nigeria, you need to follow the below process:
- The first thing you will need to do is visit a probate registry/high court.
- Write an application to the probate registry officially. This form will contain some important input fields like full name of the deceased, date of death of the deceased, place of domicile of the deceased shortly before he/she died, name of the supposed/proposed administrator(s) accompanied with the deceased death certificate.
- After you submit the application, forms will be given
- If the above process is completed, the probate registry will hand to you an account balance enquiry slip. Once you receive this slip, you will head to the bank(s) of the deceased.
- The legal team of the bank will be handed the account enquiry slip and they will review it.
- If the legal team is able to review and certify the slip, they will write down the balance in the account of the deceased. Once you receive the account balance, you are to proceed back to the registry to complete the process.
- The probate registry will now require you to place an advert on any national daily. This is done to make sure that the person is really dead i.e. they basically want to see if anyone will object to the person being dead. If this happens, then the letter of administration will obviously not be granted.
- If it is confirmed that the person is really dead and no one challenges the national daily advert, the probate will grant you a letter of administration.
The probate court will usually charge 5% to 10% of the total money in the bank account before issuing you the letter of administration.
Grants of letter of administration will usually not be made in less than 3 months in case of objections.
Letter of administration is granted to a minimum of 2 people i.e. the letter of administration cannot be granted to just one person, it has to be two or more people.
Frequently asked questions (FAQs)
Who is a letter of administration given to?
It is usually given to the person the court deems to be the most suitable out of a list of Next-of-kin. There is usually an order with which the letter of administration is granted.
How many people can be granted a letter of administration?
The letter of administration is granted to a minimum of two people, this means that the letter of administration cannot be granted to less than two people.
What is the order in which a letter of administration is granted?
The order is usually as follows:
Surviving spouse of the deceased.
Children of the deceased.
Parents of the deceased.
Brothers or sisters of the deceased.
Grandparents of the deceased.
Uncles and aunts of full blood or their children.
To obtain a letter of administration can be a lengthy and tedious process, make sure you seek legal advice before you begin.
There are certain criteria you will need to meet before a letter of administration granted to you, make sure you know them and be prepared.
I hope that with this post, the process of obtaining a letter of administration in Nigeria will be very straight forward. Note that this blog is not meant to be a legal aid, so information you read here should be taken only as a guide.
If you have questions, you can comment them below and I will tend to them soon enough. Remember to subscribe to this blog for more quality posts.
Thank you for reading.