Lagos State Government has called on critical stakeholders in estate planning and succession trust to come up with strategies to expedite the process of obtaining a letter of administration more swiftly.
Speaking at a Stakeholder’s Roundtable Discussion on the topic: “The Issues with Wealth Transfer Process under the court supervised system in Nigeria” the Lagos State Attorney General, Mr Moyosore Onigbanjo SAN noted that, it is important that families of deceased persons be 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 access to such accounts and the funds in them is cumbersome.
The Attorney General 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 as stipulated under the “section 13 of the Administrator General Law of Lagos State 2015.
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. ”
The Attorney General further recommended that the current flat rate of duty imposed generally on all estates should be reconsidered.
The threshold as stated in Section 1 of the Administration of Small Estates Law of Lagos State, 2015 should be also be increased from #100,000 to #1,000,000.
Speaking earlier at the event, the head of Valuation, Lagos State Probate Registry, Mrs G N Otunmunye said that the issue of Estate Planning and succession is a broad one and involves a range of professionals from diverse fields. Therefore, the purpose of the roundtable discussion was to bring stakeholders together and find common solutions for common problems.