An executor of an estate in The Bahamas may need to execute a deed of assent during the probate process. For those unfamiliar with probate court procedures, terms like “deed of assent” can be confusing. If you are acting as executor for the first time, gaining a basic understanding of the terms used in court will help you administer the estate.
When an executor submits a will to probate, the end goals are to locate all assets of the deceased and disperse them to the rightful heirs. The executor does much of the work in this process. This includes locating the will, initiating a probate proceeding, locating creditors and settling debts and identifying the heirs and the assets, and conveying the assets to the heirs. If there is no will, an appointed administrator performs the same functions. The judge assigned to the probate case will decide if the will is valid and should be admitted to probate. The executor must follow proper procedures. The judge also resolves any disputes that arise along the way.
Executors use deeds of assent at the very end of the probate process. After a court approves dispersal of the estate assets to the heirs, the appointed executor must transfer possession of the assets to each of the heirs. The executor can simply give personal property, like jewelry, to the heir receiving it. For real property or other items with titles of ownership, the executor must prepare deeds of assent.
The deed of assent conveys title to the property from the deceased person to the heir. (Administration of Estates Act, Section 25.) While the executor may have safeguarded the asset during the probate process, he does not have any ownership of it. Instead, the deed of assent passes the ownership to the heir. The ownership rights “relate back” to the date of death of the deceased. (Administration of Estates Act, Section 25(2).)
Deeds of assent are legal documents signed by executors. Sometimes these deeds must be recorded with the government, as for land ownership. Sometimes executors may impose conditions on executing deeds of assent, such as requiring the person receiving the property to pay security sufficient to discharge debts owing on the property. (Administration of Estates Act, Section 25(12).) If you are an executor and have questions about making out deeds of assent for property of the estate, seek out an attorney to advise you on the steps you need to take.
To find out more about executors and probate in The Bahamas, visit Gonsalves-Sabola Chambers online or call the office at +1 242 326 6400.