The Procedure for Succession in Kenya For Intestate Matters

What is succession?

It is the process of transferring properties left behind by a deceased person to the person or persons entitled, either through a will or operation of law.

What is intestacy?

This arises where either 1.A person dies WITHOUT a will,

2. The will left by the deceased is declared invalid by a court of law,

3. A person prepares then revokes his will and dies before executing a new one.

In cases where the deceased dies intestate, the Applicant petitions the court for a grant of Letters of Administration intestate.

But where there is partial intestacy, the Letters of Administration in respect of the intestate estate shall be granted to any executor(s) who proves a Will.

What is the order of preference for applicant (s) to whom a grant of letters of administration can be issued to?

  1. Surviving spouse or spouses, with or without association of other beneficiaries,
  2. Other beneficiaries entitled on intestacy, with priority according to their respective beneficial interest as provided in the law,
  3. The Public Trustee,
  4. Creditors

What is the essential information required while applying for any grant of representation?

Every application for a grant of representation shall be prepared, signed by the applicant and witnessed. The application must include the following information:

  1. The full names of the deceased,
  2. The date and place of his/her death,
  3. His/ Her last place of residence,
  4. The relationship, if any, of the applicant to the deceased,
  5. Whether or not the deceased left a valid will,
  6. In cases of total or partial intestacy, the names and addresses of all surviving spouses, children, parents, siblings of the deceased, and of the children of any child of his or hers, then deceased.
  7. A full inventory of all the assets and liabilities of the deceased, and other information that may be required under the law.

The main procedure for succession in intestate matters include:

  1. Filing of documents in court- All the relevant documentation must be filed at the applicable court for approval and assessment of fees. The vital documents includes a) Death certificate b) Letter from the local chief that clarifies the deceased’s spouse(s) and beneficiaries and could also include his/her properties and estate. c) Petition for Letters of Administration d) Guarantee by personal sureties- This is for purposes of ensuring that the Applicant to the grant fulfills their mandate as promised in the petition.
  1. Make payments- An invoice is issued by the court and separate payments are made for the court fees and gazettement fee to a specific bank.
  1. Notice in the Kenya Gazette: – The court gazettes the petition for grant of Letters of Administration inviting any persons with interest in the deceased person’s estate to raise any objection within thirty (30) days from the date of publishing.
  1. Issuance of Letters of Administration-If there is no objection in the 30 days, the petitioner will obtain from the court the grant of Letters of Administration essentially setting him/her/them as the intended administrator(s) of the estate. If any objection is raised, the court will proceed to hear the matter.
  1. Confirmation of grant- Six (6) months from the issuance of the Grant of Letters of Administration, the administrator of the estate is required to apply for a confirmation of grant. The administrator requests for this certificate by indicating how the deceased’s properties will be distributed among the beneficiaries. It is important that all the beneficiaries to the estate have an agreement on how the estate will be shared. This is because many disputes tend to arise at this level concerning farness in the distribution of the estate.

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