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Lagos State govt tasks stakeholders on probate grant, letter of administration issuance

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Lagos State government has urged critical stakeholders in estate planning and succession trust to come up with strategies to expedite the process of granting a probate and letter of administration.

The state’s Attorney-General and Commissioner for Justice, Mr. Moyosore Onigbanjo (SAN), who spoke at a stakeholders’ roundtable discussion on “The Issues with Wealth Transfer Process Under the Court Supervised System in Nigeria,” said it is important that families of deceased persons are advised to act swiftly by starting the process of obtaining letters of administration, which must be granted not later than six months from the date of application.

According to him, “without the letter, bank accounts held by such deceased persons will become dormant and inoperable within six months after their demise and the administrative process of regaining or having access to such accounts and the funds in them will be cumbersome.”

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Onigbanjo, who was represented by the Lagos State Administrator-General and Public Trustee, Mrs. Omotola Rotimi, said: “The major issue or challenge that arises through wealth transfer is the failure of beneficiaries in applying to court for grant of probate or letters of administration within one month of the demise of the deceased.

“Another issue is that of tracing the assets of the deceased. A deceased, during his lifetime, may acquire assets without informing the immediate family members. Also, a big issue is the beneficiaries not knowing where to go for information either at the probate court or the office of the Administrator-General and Public Trustee.”

He, therefore, recommended that the current flat rate of duty imposed generally on all estates should be reconsidered.

The Head of Valuation, Lagos State Probate Registry, Mrs. G. N. Otunmunye, said that the issue of estate planning and succession was a broad one and involved a range of professionals from diverse fields.

She said that the purpose of the roundtable discussion was to bring stakeholders together and find common solutions for common problems.

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