The Commission on Human Rights and Administrative Justice (CHRAJ) has stated that transferring of property of a deceased without Letter of Administration (LA) could land the perpetrator a five-year jail term.
Ms Isabella Ayiam, An Investigator with Tema Regional office of CHRAJ, explained that LA was the legal authority given by the court to a person(s) to administer the estate of a deceased person who died without a valid will.
“Under the laws of Ghana, it is an offence to deal with or administer an estate of a deceased without first securing the needed authority from the court,” Ms Ayiam stated at the Ghana News Agency Tema Regional Office’s Industrial News Hub Boardroom Dialogue platform.
She said the time it takes to get probate or letters of administration varied according to the circumstances, “it may only take three to five weeks if there are no complications, inheritance tax is not payable, the estate is straightforward and all forms are filled in properly”.
Speaking on the tenets of the Intestate Succession Law, Mr John Ato Breboh, Senior Principal Investigator, Tema Regional office of CHRAJ, said all the property of the deceased were to be listed in the LA to ensure equal distribution of property to the appropriate persons and cautioned against applications without stating all the property of the deceased.
He said not stating all the property meant that the deceased did not have such assets and that could result in further misunderstanding among family members.
Mr Breboh said people failed to list the property while applying for LA because of the levies they were to pay on the assets and urged that, detailed, and accurate information must be provided while applying for it.
He said a LA is granted to the beneficiaries after they applied to a Court of law having competent jurisdiction, stressing that an LA entitled the administrator to all rights belonging to the intestate as effectually as if the administration had been granted at the moment after his death.
He, therefore, urged family members to stop arrogating the rights to distribute or share estates of a deceased without an LA.