When a person dies and leaves an estate somebody has to deal with his or her estate (this includes money, property and other possessions) by collecting in all the estate, paying any debts and distributing the estate to those persons entitled to it. The term of “Probate” or “Administration” means the issuing of a legal document called a Grant to one or more persons authorizing them to deal with deceased person’s estate. A grant of probate is issued where a will is left by the deceased and the will is proven to the satisfaction of a judge to be a valid will. A grant of Letters of Administration is issued by a judge where no will has been left. These are issued to the person or persons who are entitled according to the Succession Law to benefit from the deceased person’s estate. Applications are made to the Civil Registry Probate Section of the Grand Court Registry. The Probate and Administration Rules of the Cayman Islands provide for four types of grants:
- Probate – Probate is issued to an executor or executors named in a deceased person’s will.
- Letters of Administration (with the will annexed) – Issued where there is a will, but no named executor or the executor has renounced because he/she does not wish to be involved in dealing with the estate.
- Letters of Administration – Issued because the deceased has not made a will, or where a will is made it is deemed to be invalid.
- Resealing of Foreign Grants (see below)