chapter 45 administration of estates arrangement of sections section. 1. short title 2. interpretation official adm

CHAPTER 45
ADMINISTRATION OF ESTATES
ARRANGEMENT OF SECTIONS
Section.
1. Short title
2. Interpretation
OFFICIAL ADMINISTRATION OF ESTATES
3. (1) Appointment of Administrator and Registrar General
(2) Corporation sole
4. Appointment of agent by Administrator and Registrar General and
remuneration
5. Fees and expenses of Administrator and Registrar General
6. Relief of Administrator and Registrar General from liability
7. Sale of goods of third party
8. Grants to Administrator and Registrar General and effects
DEVOLUTION OF ESTATE
9. (1) Intestate devolution
(2) Liability of assets for payment of debts
10. Application for grant by Administrator and Registrar General
11. Grant to persons appearing
12. Grant to letters of administration to widow or widower or
next-of-kin
13. Grant to probate of administration to revoke grant to
Administrator and Registrar General
14. Title of Administrator
15. Administrator to be trustee
16. Appointment of Administrator and Registrar General of estate
unadministered
17. Transfer by executor or administrator to Administrator and
Registrar General
18. Advertisements for debts and claims
19. Distribution of estate
20. Proving of claims
21. No sale of land without consent of parties or order of Court
22. Personality to be realised
23. Directions by Court
24. Assets of persons not domiciled in Sierra Leone payable to
executor abroad
25. Keeping accounts
26. Filing of accounts
27. Filing of interim account
28. Power to transfer share of minor to relative
29. (1) Disposal of proceeds of intestate estate without a widow or
widower or next-of-kin
(2) Petitions to Court
(3) What must be stated
(4) Service on Administrator and Registrar General
(5) Hearing
(6) Ground of petition
30. Order on Petition
31. Assets unclaimed within two years to lapse to Government
32. Power of President to dispose of assets
ESTATE OF DECEASED EXPATRIATE GOVERNMENT OFFICERS
33. (1) Duty of heads of departments to notify deaths
(2) Administration by Administrator and Registrar General of estate of
deceased expatriate officers
(3) Agent of Administrator and Registrar General in Sierra Leone
34. Limitation of administration
35. Publication of notice by Administrator and Registrar General
36. Certain articles to be sent to the Consular Officer
37. Rendering of accounts and Order of Court
38. Interim accounts
39. Change of administration by Order of Court
ADMINISTRATION OF SMALL ESTATES
40. Power to administer where assets do not exceed £50
41. Power to remit fees in estates not exceeding £50
42. Wages or salary not exceeding £10 to be paid to widow or relative
of deceased person in certain cases
ADMINISTRATION OF NATIVE ESTATES
43. (1) Native Intestate Estates not within jurisdiction of Local
Court
(2) Administrator and Registrar General to ascertain native law
GENERAL
44. Annual Report of Administrator and Registrar General
45. Rules of Court
FIRST SCHEDULE*
SECOND SCHEDULE
THIRD SCHEDULE*
CHAPTER 45
ADMINISTRATION OF ESTATES
An Act to provide for the appointment of an Administrator and
Registrar General of Estates, and to regulate the administration of
estates and the distribution of intestate estate and for other
purposes
[1st JANUARY, 1946]
1. This Act may be cited as the Administrator of Estates Act, it shall
come into force on such day as the President may fix by notice in the
Gazette, and shall apply throughout Sierra Leone except in respect of
the estate or part of the estate of the deceased native which is
within the jurisdiction of a Local court.
2. In this Ordinance unless the context otherwise requires
“Administrator” means a person appointed by Court or under this Act to
administer an estate;
“assets” means all property real and personal of a deceased person
which is chargeable with and applicable to the payment of his debts
and legacies or available for distribution amongst his heirs and
next-of-kin;
“Court” means the High Court of Sierra Leone
“estate” means all interests in land and chattels real and personal,
choses in action and other property whatsoever;
“Expatriate Officer” means any person who is an expatriate officer for
the purposes of the Pensions Act, and is not a person subject to
military law;
“issue” includes children and the descendants of deceased children
according to their stocks;
“letters of administration means any letters of administration,
whether general or with a copy of the will annexed or limited in time
or otherwise;
“next-of-kin” includes, any person other than a widow or widower of a
deceased person who by law would be entitled to letters of
administration in preference to a creditor;
“Administrator and Registrar General” means a person in the public
services appointed as Administrator under this Act and includes an
Assistant Administrator and Registrar General
ADMINISTRATOR AND REGISTRAR GENERAL OF ESTATES
3. (1) The President shall appoint a suitable person to be
Administrator and Registrar General and as many Assistant
Administrator and Registrar Generals as may be required.
(2) The Administrator and Registrar-General shall for the purposes of
this Act be a Corporation sole and shall have perpetual succession and
may sue and be sued in his corporate name, and shall be entitled to
appear in Court either in person or by counsel in any proceedings to
which he is a party.
4. (1) The Administrator and Registrar-General may appoint such person
or persons as he shall think fit, to act as his agent for the
managing, collecting and getting in of the assets and in payment of
the liabilities, and the distribution of the assets of deceased
persons whose estates are in the course of administration by him, such
agent or agents shall in all respects act in such matters under the
direction of the Administrator and Registrar-General, who shall not be
answerable for any act or omission of any agent not in conformity with
such direction or which shall not have happened by the Administrator
and Registrar-General’s own fault or neglect.
(2) Every agent not being a public officer shall find security to the
satisfaction of the Administrator and Registrar-General for the
performance of his duty
(3) Every agent, not being a public officer may be remunerated either
by salary or such fees as the, Administrator and Registrar-General
with the approval of the Court may decide.
5. (1) There shall be charged in respect of the administration of
estates by the Administrator and Registrar-General such fees by way of
percentage or otherwise as may be prescribed by Rules of Court made as
provided in section 45.
(2) The Administrator and Registrar-General shall also be entitled to
any expenses which might be retained or paid out of any estate in his
charge, as if he were a private administrator.
(3) All such fees and expenses shall have priority over all debts of
the deceased and may be deducted from any moneys received by the
Administrator and Registrar-General in the course of the
Administration and shall be paid into the general revenue of Sierra
Leone
6. Neither the Administrator and Registrar-General nor any agent shall
be personally liable to any person in respect of assets in the
possession at the time of his death of any person, whose estate shall
be administered by the Administrator and Registrar-General, which
shall be dealt with by the Administrator and Registrar-General or such
agent, unless the Administrator and Registrar-General or his agent
respectively, shall know, or have actual, notice before the same are
dealt with, that the same were not in fact the property of the person
whose estate is being administered by the Administrator and
Registrar-General, and generally, neither the Administrator and
Registrar-General nor any agent shall be liable for any act done bona
fide in the supposed and intended performance of their duties, unless
it shall be shown that such act was done not only illegally but
wilfully or with gross negligence.
7. If during the administration of an estate by the Administrator and
Registrar-General there is sold by the Administrator and
Registrar-General or any agent on his behalf any goods or chattels or
other property belonging to a third party, the amount realised by such
sale shall be paid over to the owner upon proof by him of such
ownership unless the sale shall have already been applied in payment
of the debts of the deceased or shall have been distributed in the
ordinary course of administration whilst the Administrator and
Registrar-General or his agent was in ignorance or without actual
notice of the claim of such person to the goods or chattels or other
property sold.
8. (1) All probates and letters of administration granted to the
Administrator and Registrar-General shall be granted to him by that
name, and shall authorise the Administrator and Registrar-General and
his successors in office to act as executor or administrator, as the
case may be, of the estate to which such probate or letter relates.
2.
The grant of probate or letters of administration to the
Administrator and Registrar-General shall be conclusive as to the
representative title against all debtors of the deceased and all
persons holding such assets, and shall afford full indemnity to
all debtors paying their debts, and all persons delivering up such
assets to the Administrator and Registrar-General or to his agents
duly appointed in accordance with the provisions of this Act.
DEVOLUTION OF ESTATES
9. (1) The estate of every person dying intestate after the date of
the operation of this Act shall devolve upon the Administrator and
Registrar-General.
Provided that, upon the grant of letters of administration under the
provisions of this Act, the estate shall be divested from the
Administrator and Registrar-General and be vested in the person or
persons to whom letters of administration have been granted as
aforesaid.
2.
All the assets of a deceased person shall be administered for the
payment of all debts of such person whether he died testate or
intestate.
10. (1) Whenever the Administrator and Registrar-General has received
information in writing that any person has died within or without the
jurisdiction of the court leaving estate within the jurisdiction of
the Court and if it appears-
i.
that any such person dies intestate; or
ii.
that the deceased having made a will devising or bequeathing his
estate, or part thereof, has omitted to appoint an executor; or
iii.
that the person or persons named as executor or executors have
died in the testator’s lifetime, or have renounced probate
thereof; or
iv.
that the last surviving executor has died intestate; or
v.
that probate or letters of administration with the will annexed
has not been obtained within six months from the death of the
testator; or
vi.
that the estate will probably be damaged, purloined or destroyed;
the Administrator and Registrar-General shall, by notice under his
hand to be served personally or delivered at the residence of the
widow or widower; and of such next-of-kin, executors or devisees whose
addresses shall be known and published in three weekly publications in
the Gazette and in any other public paper as he shall decide, call
upon the widow or widower and such next-of-kin, executors or devisees
within one month of such service or publication, to show cause why an
order should not be made for him to administer such estate:
Provided that no citation shall, be necessary in cases under
sub-section (vi) of this section.
2.
If at the expiration of the period of one month cause shall not be
shown to the satisfaction of the High Court or a Judge thereof in
the manner provided in the Third Schedule* to the, Act why the
order should not be made and in cases under sub-section (vi) at
any time after the information in writing as aforesaid, the
Administrator and Registrar-General shall petition the Court in
the form set out in the First Schedule* to this Act, and the Court
shall upon being satisfied that it is a proper case make an order
for the grant of letters of administration with or without a will
annexed, as the case may be, to the Administrator and
Registrar-General.
2.
Upon such grant as aforesaid, the Administrator and
Registrar-General, shall forthwith cause an inventory to be made
of the estate and shall file the same in the Court, and shall keep
an account of all this receipts, payments and dealings in every
such estate, and shall hold, possess, realize and dispose of the
assets of the estate according to the directions of the Court and
in default of any such directions to the provisions of this Act.
11. If in the course of proceedings to obtain a grant of probate or
letters of administration under the provisions of section 10, any
person appears and establishes his claim to probate of the will of the
deceased, or to letters of Administration as widow or widower or
next-of-kin of the deceased, the Court shall make an order that
probate or letters of administration be granted to him, and shall
award the Administrator and Registrar-General the costs of any
proceedings taken by him, to be paid out of the estate of the
deceased.
12. Notwithstanding an order which shall have been made authorising
the Administrator and Registrar-General to administer the estate of an
intestate, and whether such order has been made or not, the Court may
grant probate of any will or letters of Administration of the estate
of a deceased intestate to the widow or widower or next-of-kin of such
intestate in the manner hereto before made:
Provided that no application for any grant shall be made until seven
days notice in writing of the intention to make such application shall
have been left at the office of the Administrator and
Registrar-General.
13. Where probate of the will of a deceased or letters of
administration of his estate has been granted by the Court in any case
where an order to administer had been granted to the Administrator and
Registrar-General, the grant of such administration to the
Administrator and Registrar-General, shall be deemed to be revoked and
all the interest, powers, rights and duties of the Administrator and
Registrar-General in regard to the estate of the deceased person
affected by such grant, and all liabilities of the Administrator and
Registrar-General under any contract or agreement entered into by him
in relation to such estate or any part thereof, shall cease; and such
portion of the estate of such deceased person as shall be left
unadministered by the Administrator and Registrar-General, shall vest
in the executor or administrator obtaining such grant of probate or
letter of administration, subject nevertheless to all lawful contracts
theretofore, made relating to such estate:
Provided that all acts lawfully done by the Administrator and
Registrar-General before the grant of probate or letters of
administration to any executor or administrator shall be valid and
effectual as if they had been done by the executor or administrator.
14. The title of the Administrator and Registrar-General and of any
administrator appointed under this Act shall upon such appointment
being made, relate back to, and be deemed to have arisen upon the
death of the owner of such estate as if there had been no interval of
time between such death and appointment.
15.
The Administrator and Registrar-General and every administrator
appointed under this law shall be deemed a trustee within the
meaning of any law, now or hereafter to be in force, relating to
trusts and trustees.
16. (1) In any case in which administration of the estate of any
deceased person shall have been, or shall hereafter be, granted to any
person, the Administrator and Registrar-General, or any person
interested, may apply to the court or a Judge thereof that letters of
administration of the estate left unadministered of such deceased
person may be granted to the Administrator and Registrar-General, or
any person on the ground that it would be beneficial to all persons
interested that the executor or administrator be removed and the
estate be administered by the Administrator and Registrar General or
such other person
2.
The court or judge may, on such application, grant or refuse the
same either absolutely, or any conditions, or may adjourn the
hearing thereof for further evidence, and may make such order as
to payment of costs by the parties to such application, personally
or out of the estate to be administered as to the said Court or
Judge may seem fit
2.
All applications under this section shall be by motion of seven
days notice to the administrator and all persons interested in the
estate and supported by affidavit.
Provided that the court may dispense with personal service as it may
think fit where it is satisfied the administrator cannot be found.
(4) When an order is made under this section, it shall have the effect
of revoking any previous probate or letters of administration and
vesting the estate left unadministered in the Administrator and
Registrar-General or other person so appointed with all the rights,
powers and subject to all the liabilities of the administrator.
17. (1) Any executor or administrator may with the previous consent of
the Administrator and Registrar-General by instrument in writing under
his hand notified in the Gazette, transfer the assets of the deceased
vested in him by virtue of such probate or letters of administration
to the Administrator and Registrar-General
Provided that before the Administrator and Registrar-General shall
give his consent to the transfer he shall notify as far as possible
all persons who appear to him to be interested in the estate and shall
not give such consent if any other person applies to the Court for
administration unless the Court refuses such application.
(2) As from the date of such transfer, the transferor shall be
exempted from all liability as such executor or administrator, as the
case may be, except in respect of acts or omissions done or committed,
before the date of such transfer, and the Administrator and
Registrar-General shall have the rights which he would have been
subject, if the probate or letters of administration as the case may
be, had been granted to him by that name at the date of such transfer.
18. (1) As soon as possible after the grant of probate or letters of
administration, an executor or administrator shall cause
advertisements to be published in some public paper calling upon
creditors and other persons beneficially interested in the estate
which he is administering to come in and prove their claims within
such period as he may specify not being less than one month.
(2) The Administrator and Registrar-General shall in like manner cause
advertisements as aforesaid and shall in addition publish the same in
the Gazette
(3) Any claims by a creditor shall state his name and address, the
origin of the debt or claim, the degree or class of debt and
particulars duly verified by affidavit.
19. As soon as may be after the expiration of the time limited under
the provision of the preceding section, or after the settlement of any
dispute in respect of any claim, the executor, administrator or the
Administrator and Registrar-General, as the case may be shall dispose
of the estate of the deceased in the manner following-
a.
he shall reimburse himself of all such costs and charges as he may
reasonably have incurred in collecting and managing the estate;
b.
he shall pay into the Treasury the fees mentioned in section 5
(1);
c.
he shall pay the creditors of the estate in the following order,
namely-
1.
debts due to the State
2.
judgement debt;
3.
specialty contracts debts;
4.
simple contract debts;
5.
all other debts;
d.
he shall pay the balance (if any) to the persons legally entitled
either as a legatee under a will or beneficially entitled on an
intestacy as provided in the Second Schedule hereof.
20. As executor, administrator or the Administrator and
Registrar-General who has distributed the assets of a deceased person
among the persons who have proved their claims as creditors or
beneficiaries as the case may be shall not be liable for the assets so
distributed to any person of whose claims he had notice at the time of
such distribution; but nothing in this section contained shall
prejudice the right of any creditor or claimant to follow the assets
or any part thereof into the hands of any person or persons who may
have received the same respectively.
21. (1) No land forming part of the estate of an intestate shall be
sold by the Administrator and Registrar-General or any administrator
without the consent of all persons beneficially interested, or the
order of the Court or Judge thereof for that purpose first obtained.
(2) On the application of the Administrator and Registrar-General; an
administrator or any person beneficially interested, and after
previous notice to other persons interested, the Court may order and
direct the course of proceedings which shall be taken in regard to the
time and mode of any sale of land, the letting and management thereof
until sale, the application for maintenance or advancement or
otherwise of shares, income of shares, of infants, the expediency and
mode of affecting a partition if applied for, and generally in regard
to the administration of the land for the greatest advantage of all
persons interested.
22. The Administrator and Registrar-General shall convert into money
all the personalty of every estate which he administered unless an
order be made to the contrary by the Court, and shall pay all monies
received by him from time to time in the course of administration,
whether in respect of realty or personalty, except such sums as may be
required for defraying expense already incurred or immediately to be
incurred in the administration, into the treasury to the account of
the estate from which they arise:
Provided that, in the case of a solvent estate, the Administrator and
Registrar-General shall transfer any property specifically bequeathed
to any person to such person and may deliver to the widow or widower,
or next-of-kin of the deceased any watch, jewellery or other property
of the deceased which, in the opinion of the Administrator and
Registrar-General ought not to be sold.
23. (1) The Administrator, or any person claiming any title, right or
interest in the estate of a deceased intestate may apply by petition
to the Court or by summons to a Judge in Chambers, for directions in
any question respecting the possession, custody, control, management
or disposal of any property forming part of the assets of a deceased
intestate.
2.
All such applications shall state the grounds thereof and shall be
supported by an affidavit setting out the facts relied upon, or
upon which such opinion, advice or direction is required and shall
be served upon all persons interested.
3.
The Administrator and Registrar-General or other person acting
upon such opinion, advice or direction shall be deemed, so far as
his own responsibility is concerned, indemnified from the
consequences of acting thereon:
4.
Provided nevertheless that this shall not indemnify the
Administrator and Registrar-General or any such person for any
fraud or wilful concealment or misrepresentation in obtaining such
opinion, advice or direction.
24. (1) When a person, not domiciled in Sierra Leone , has died
leaving assets in Sierra Leone, the Administrator and
Registrar-General, after having given the prescribed notice for
creditors and others to send in to him their claims against the estate
of the deceased, and after having discharged at the expiration of the
time therein named such lawful claims as he may have notice of, may,
instead of distributing any surplus or residue of the deceased’s
estate to persons’ residing out of Sierra Leone who are entitled
thereto transfer with the consent of the administrator if any as the
case may be in the country of the domicile of the deceased, the
surplus or residue to such executor or administrator for distribution
to such persons:
Provided that where such deceased person was domiciled in a foreign
state, such transfer may be made to a Consular Officer of such state,
such transfer may be a full and complete discharge to the
Administrator and Registrar-General in respect of the same:
And provided further that where the person entitled to receive the
residue of an estate is living in a British Dominion or Possession or
any Territory over which Her Majesty exercises jurisdiction and the
Government of that Dominion, Possession or Territory is willing to pay
the residue to that person the Administrator and Registrar-General may
transfer the residue through the Minister to the Government of the
British Dominion, Possession or Territory in which the person entitled
is living and written acknowledgement by the Accountant General of the
Government of Sierra Leone that he has received the surplus for such
purpose shall be a full and complete discharge to the Administrator
and Registrar-General in respect of the same.
(2) The President may prescribe the fees payable to a Consular Officer
or to the Government mentioned in this section.
25. The Administrator and Registrar-General and every executor and
administrator shall keep an account of all receipt, payments and
dealings with every estate he is administering and shall permit all
interested persons to inspect and take copies of the same, and of all
proceedings relating thereto at all reasonable hours or shall furnish
office copies thereof.
26. (1) The Administrator and Registrar-General and every executor and
administrator shall on the completion of the administration of an
estate file in the Court his accounts and vouchers relating to the
same, together with an affidavit in verification, and after thirteen
days notice has been given to all persons known to be interested who
are resident in Sierra Leone setting forth a day and hour to be
appointed by the Court for the passing of such accounts, and notice of
such day and hour has been published in the Gazette the same may be
examined by the Court in the presence of any person who may attend
upon such notice; and objection may be taken to the account or any
item or part thereof and the Court may allow or disallow the account
of any item or part thereof and accounts shall be taken and settled by
the Court in accordance with the usual practice of the Court.
(2) A certificate under the hand of a judge of the Court to the effect
that the accounts have been examined and found correct shall be a
valid and effectual discharge in favour of the Administrator and
Registrar-General, executor or administrator as the case may be, as
against all persons whatsoever.
27. Where the administration of an estate is not completed within
twelve months of the date of the grant of probate or letters of
administration, as the case may be, the executors shall, unless
otherwise ordered by the Court, file in the Court an interim statement
of accounts which may be examined in accordance with the Rules of
Court.
28. Where any person entitled to share under a will or in the
distribution of the estate of a deceased person is a minor, the Court
may upon the application of the Administrator and Registrar-General,
executor or administrator, appoint the father or mother of such minor,
or some other suitable person to receive the share of such minor on
his behalf and the receipt of such person so appointed shall be a full
and complete discharge for the payment of such share.
29. (1) Whenever the Administrator and Registrar-General shall have
administered the estate of any person who has died intestate and
without leaving a widow or widower, or next-of-kin, by paying all
debts, fees, expenses and liabilities incident to the collection,
management and administration of such estate, he shall forthwith pay
all sums of money which shall be in his hands to the credit of such
intestate into the Treasury to form part of a fund hereinafter called
the “Intestate Fund” and shall forthwith publish a notice in the
Gazette and such other public papers as he shall deem expedient,
announcing the completion of such administration and calling upon all
persons claiming to be interested in such estate on legal, equitable
or moral grounds, to present their petitions to the Court.
(2) Such petition may be presented at any time within two years from
the date of the said notice, unless the Court, as hereinafter
provided, fixes a lesser period within which the petition may be
presented, and no such claim shall be entertained after expiration of
two years or such lesser period of time as may be fixed by the Court
as aforesaid, and the hearing of the petition shall not take place
until two months shall have elapsed after the expiration of the said
period of two years or such lesser period fixed as aforesaid or until
the petitioner shall have given two months’ notice in the Gazette of
the presentation of such petition or intention to present such
petition, and if the petition has been presented and no such notice
given until after the day appointed by the court.
(3) (a) Where the court is satisfied upon application ,either by the
Administrator and Registrar-General, or by a person who has presented
a petition under sub-section(1) of this section, that it is unlikely
there should be any further petitions presented or that a lesser
period of time will be sufficient for the presentation of any such
petitions , the court may order that instead of the period of two
years mentioned in sub-section(2) there shall be substituted for such
period such lesser period not less than six months as the court may
consider sufficient.
(b) Notice of any order made by the court under this subsection shall
be published in the other public papers in which the notice under
sub-section (1) of this section was published .
(4) Every such petition shall state the place of residence of the
claimant and the ground upon which and the description of the estate
in respect of which and the description of the estate in respect of
such claim is made.
(5).A copy of such petition shall be served upon the Administrator and
the Registrar- General.
(6) A person claiming to be interested in such estate may appear
personally or by counsel, and the respective claims of different
petitioners may be heard and dealt with at the hearing.
(7) The equitable or moral grounds in this section referred to shall
include those arising from the illegitimacy of the deceased person
whose estate shall have been administered or of his children.
30. (1) If any petitioner verifies his claim by evidence to the
satisfaction of the court, the court shall make such order in the
premises, including any award of costs, as it shall think fit.
(2) The order may contain a direction to the Accountant-General to pay
from the sum standing to the credit of the estate in the Treasury the
sum awarded to any claimant or petitioner by such order , or any debt
appearing to the court to be then outstanding and due from the estate.
31. (1) After the expiration of two years from the date of any notice
published by the Administrator and Registrar- General under section 29
hereof, all sums standing to the credit of an estate in respect of
which such notice was published, and in respect of which either no
petition shall have been presented has been withdrawn, struck out or
dismissed, shall forthwith pass to and form part of the general
revenue of Sierra Leone, and the Administrator and Registrar General
shall notify the Accountant General thereof.
(2) The Court may either of its own motion, or on the application of
the Attorney General or the Administrator and Registrar General, or
any person interested, after notice to the petitioner strike out or
dismiss any petition which shall not have been heard and determined
within three years from the date of the notice of the Administrator
and Registrar General under section 29 if the Court is of the opinion
that the petitioner has failed or delayed without good and sufficient
cause duly to prosecute such petition.
32. It shall be lawful for the President to dispose of or distribute
either the whole or any part of any assets transferred to Government
under the last preceding section or otherwise to or among any kindred
of the deceased or any other such persons in such shares and manner as
he shall think fit, regard being had to any equitable or moral claims.
ESTATES OF DECEASED EXPATRIATE GOVERNMENT OFFICERS
33. (1) It shall be the duty of the Head of every Government
Department to inform the Administrator and Registrar General forthwith
of the death of any expatriate officer of his department
(2) Where any expatriate officer dies intestate, or leaving a will but
without having appointed an executor who is within the jurisdiction
and able and willing to take probate, and without leaving any widow or
widower, or next of kin within the jurisdiction who is able and
willing to take probate, his estate shall be administered by the
Administrator and Registrar General.
(3) If any such expatriate officer as aforesaid die leaving property
in any place in Sierra Leone, other than in Bonthe in the Sherbro
Judicial District, the Administrator and Registrar General may subject
to the approval of the President, appoint a public officer to act as
his agent in the administration of the estate of such deceased.
(4) If any such expatriate officer as aforesaid die leaving property
in Bonthe in the Sherbro Judicial District or in the Provinces, then
the District Officer of the District in which such property is left
shall be ex-officio agent of the Administrator and Registrar General
in the administration of the estate of such deceased:
Provided that the District Officer may appoint a public officer in his
district to act as such agent in his place.
34. The administration of such estate by the Administrator and
Registrar-General shall be limited to the collection and realization
of the estate of the deceased within the jurisdiction, the payment of
his funeral and testamentary expenses and debts within the
jurisdiction, and the payment of the balance into the Treasury to the
credit of the legal personal representative of the deceased.
35. As soon as possible after the Administrator has taken over the
administration of the estate of any expatriate officer he shall cause
a notice of the fact to be published in the Gazette and such other
public papers as he shall deem expedient, requiring all persons having
any claim against the estate of the deceased so send in such claim to
the Administrator within thirty days, and may, if he thinks fit,
require that any claim be supported by affidavit of the person making
the same, or of any person cognisant of the facts relating thereto.
36. Where the estate is solvent any watch, jewellery, letters or other
property of the deceased which, in the opinion of Administrator and
Registrar-General, ought not to be sold shall be securely packed and
forwarded to the Consular Officer or appropriate authority of the
country of origin of the deceased officer for despatch to the legal
personal representatives of the deceased officer. The Administrator
shall give notice to the Minister that this has been done.
37. (1) Upon the completion of the administration of the estate, the
Administrator shall file in the Court his accounts and those of the
agent, if any, and the vouchers relating thereto together with an
affidavit or affidavits in verification. The Court shall, on passing
such accounts, order the net balance due to the estate to be lodged
with the Accountant General with a view to being paid to the Consular
Officer or appropriate authority of the country of origin of the
deceased officer on behalf of the legal personal representative of the
deceased.
2.
The Administrator and Registrar-General shall, on receipt of the
order of the court, send to the Minister a copy of the said
order of the accounts as finally passed by the Court and the
vouchers relating thereto, and of the affidavit or affidavits in
verification, together with a request that the Consular Officer
or appropriate authority of the country of origin of the
deceased officer may be instructed accordingly.
3.
If at any time subsequent to the filing of the accounts and
vouchers as aforesaid there shall be brought to the knowledge of
the Court the existence of assets or of claims against the
estate of the deceased which were unknown to the Administrator
and Registrar-General or not included in the accounts at the
time of such filing, the Court on being satisfied by affidavit
or otherwise of the existence of assets, or of the validity of
such claims may order that the accounts be amended as
circumstances may require, and pass the amended accounts
accordingly.
38.The Administrator and the Registrar-General may, by leave of the
court, and subject to such terms as to the future administration of
the estate as the court may deem just, pass any accounts prior to the
completion of the administration . In any such case the procedure
prescribed in section 37(2) shall be followed as to any balance shown
to be due to the estate by such accounts, but the : Minister shall in
addition be notified that the administration has not been completed.
39. The court may at any time, on application being made to it for the
purpose, or of its own motion, order that the Administrator and
Registrar-General shall cease to administer an estate.
Any such order shall be made on such terms as the court shall think
fit, and the court may by the same or another order name some other
person to act as administrator.
ADMINISTRATION OF SMALL ESTATES
40. (1) Notwithstanding anything contained in this or any other assets
within Sierra Leone the gross value of which does not exceed fifty
pounds, the Administrator and the Registrar-General may by notice in
the Gazette and in some other public paper advertise his intention to
administer the estate under the provisions of this section and at the
expiration of the time limited by such notice he may apply to the
court for an order to administer the estate, which order the court may
grant or refuse at its discretion:
Provided that where the gross value of the estate does not exceed ten
pounds no notice shall be published:
And provided further that no order shall be made for the Administrator
and the Registrar-General to administer such estate if letters of
administration of the intestate have been granted to an administrator
unless the court under section 16 sub-section (4) has revoked such
grant.
(2) It shall not be obligatory for the Administrator and
Registrar-General to file in court his account and vouchers in respect
of an estate administered under this section unless he is required to
do so by a beneficiary or creditor of the deceased, and receives
payment of such sum as the Administrator and Registrar-General may
reasonably require to cover the costs of preparing, filing and passing
the accounts:
Provided that all persons interested shall have the right to inspect
and make copies of such account.
(3) The Administrator and Registrar-General shall publish in some
public papers a notice calling upon all creditors to send in their
claims against the deceased within a reasonable time to be stated by
him in such notice:
Provided that where the gross value of the estate does not exceed ten
ponds the Court may on the application of the Administrator and
Registrar-General dispense with the publication of such notice,
(4) Upon the expiration of the time so stated or if publication of the
notice to creditors is dispensed with as hereinbefore provided, after
such period as the Court may fix, the Administrator and
Registrar-General shall pay all claims of which he shall have received
notice and which have been proved to his satisfaction and shall
distribute the residue (if any) among the persons interested in
accordance with the rules of distribution in the Second Schedule
hereto annexed, In the case of illegitimacy of the deceased or his
children, such distribution shall be made among such the persons who,
in the opinion of the Administrator and Registrar-General, would, but
for such illegitimacy, have been entitled to the same according to the
rules of distribution aforesaid.
(5) The Administrator and Registrar-General may on his own motion and
shall at the request of any beneficiary or of any creditor who has
proved his claim to the satisfaction of the Administrator and
Registrar-General apply to the Court for directions as to any claim or
as to the persons who are entitled to the estate as creditors or
beneficiaries.
41. Notwithstanding anything contained in this or any other Act the
court may at the time of making an order for the Administrator and
Registrar-General to administer an estate the gross value of which
does not exceed fifty pounds remit all fees and costs usually payable
upon an administration by the Official Administrator and to substitute
therefore one fee, equivalent to one-tenth of the gross value of the
estate, and may order that any formalities or proceedings, which may
appear to him to be unnecessary, be dispensed with, and may give all
directions as it may consider expedient for the effective and
economical administration of the estate.
42. In case any person employed in the service of any Government
Department or of the City Council of Freetown or of the Rural Area
Council shall die leaving any sum of money not exceeding ten pounds
due to him as wages or salary, and probate of his will or letters of
administration be not produced to the officer responsible for the
payment of the said sum; or if notice in writing of the existence of a
will and intention to prove the same or notice of intention to take
out letters of administration be not given to the said officer within
the period of two months from the death of such person so employed as
aforesaid; or if such notice be given but such will be not proved or
letters of administration be not taken out and the probate and letters
of administration produced to the said officer within the period of
four months’ from the death of such person; the officer may after the
period of two or four months, as the case may be, pay the sum due as
aforesaid, at his discretion to the widow and relatives of the
deceased person or anyone or more of them and shall thereupon notify
the Administrator and Registrar-General accordingly.
ADMINISTRATION OF NATIVE ESTATES
43. (1) Notwithstanding anything contained in this Act, where any
native dies intestate leaving assets in Sierra Leone which are not
within the jurisdiction of any Local Court the distribution of such
assets after payment of the debts of the deceased and the costs of
administration shall be according to native law and custom.
2.
Where the Administrator and Registrar-General administers any such
estate he shall request the District Officer of the area, or the
Paramount Chief of the Chiefdom concerned, or the Tribal Headman
of the tribe to which the deceased belonged to ascertain from the
Local court or from members of the tribe, as the case may be, the
names of persons entitled to the balance of the estate and on such
names being certified to him by the District Officer, or the
tribal Headman, as the case may be, shall pay such balance of the
estate to the persons so named.
2.
Where the District Officer, or the Paramount Chief of the Chiefdom
concerned or the Tribal Headman certifies that there are no known
persons entitled under customary law to the balance of the estate
and there appears to be any person or persons who were dependent
on the deceased or who would have been entitled had the deceased
been a non-native, the Minister may direct the Administrator and
Registrar-General to pay the balance of the estate to such person
or persons in such proportions as he may think equitable.
2.
The receipt of the persons certified by the District Officer or
the Paramount Chief of the Chiefdom concerned or the Tribal
Headman or of the persons to whom the Minister directs that
payment shall be made as the case may be, shall be a valid and
effectual discharge in favour of the Administrator and
Registrar-General against all persons whatsoever, in respect of
the balance of the estate so paid over and effectual discharge in
favour of the Administrator and Registrar-General against all
persons whatsoever in respect of the balance of the estate so paid
over.
GENERAL
44. The Administrator and Registrar-General shall in every year in the
month of April transmit to the Financial Secretary, to be laid before
the Parliament, a return of all monies paid, received and invested in
respect of all the estates of deceased persons administered by him
during the preceding year, distinguishing the particular estate in
which the same have been so received, paid or invested, and he shall
also publish twice in every year, in the months of April and October a
like return in the Gazette in respect of the six months ending on the
31st day of December and 30th day of June, respectively.
45. Rules of Court may be made in accordance with section 24 of the
Courts Act, for the effectual execution of this Act, and for fixing
the costs to be allowed, or in respect of the matters herein
contained, and the performance thereof, and also for altering the
number of days by this Act limited for the doing of everything by this
Act prescribed or authorised to be done, and substituting other days
for the same as, in the opinion of the Rules of Court Committee, shall
be necessary and proper.
Until such rules are made, the rules in the Third Schedule hereto
annexed shall be in force.
SECOND SCHEDULE
RULES OF DISTRIBUTION
1.
If a woman die intestate leaving a husband the whole of the
estate shall go to him.
2.
If a man die intestate leaving a widow and children or issue the
widow shall be entitled to one-third of the estate, and the
children or issue the remaining two-thirds equally between them
per stripes.
3.
If a man dies leaving children or issue but no widow, the
children and issue take the whole between them per stripes
4.
If a man die leaving a widow but not children or issue the widow
shall take one-half absolutely and the half shall be divisible
amongst this nearest relatives of next-of-kin.
Relatives of the half-blood taking equal with relative of the full
entitled to the whole.
5.
If a man die leaving no widow or children or issue, the father
will be entitled to the whole.
6.
(1) If a man die leaving no widow, child, issue or father; the
mother, brothers and sisters will take in equal shares. Brothers
and sisters of the half-blood share equally with brothers and
sisters of the full-blood.
2.
If any brother or sister shall have died in the life-time of the
intestate, leaving children, such children shall stand in loco
parentis, provided the, mother or any brother or sister be living.
* Rules of Court have been made prescribing the fees to be paid for
the administration of estates by the Administrator and
Registrar-General. None have been made yet to replace the Third
Schedule. The First Schedule, which prescribes a form or application
to the Court, and the Third Schedule, which is in the nature of Rules
of Court, are for convenience printed together with the Rules about
fees in the Volume containing the subsidiary legislation of the Courts
Act (Cap.7).
7.
If there be no brother or sister, nor child of such brother or
sister, the mother shall take the whole.
8.
If there be no mother, the brothers and sisters take equally,
the children of such brothers and sisters as may be standing in
loco parentis.
9.
If there be no next-of-kin the estate shall go to the State.
CHAPTER 46
ADMINISTRATION OF ESTATES BY
CONSULAR OFFICERS
ARRANGEMENT OF SECTIONS
SECTION
1.
Short title
2.
Administration of Estates by Consular Officers
3.
Variation of Schedule
CHAPTER 46
ADMINISTRATION OF ESTATES BY
CONSULAR OFFICERS
An Act to enable Consular Officers of Certain States to Administer the
Estates of Deceased Foreign Nationals of such States.
[18TH JULY, 1940]
WHEREAS it is expedient that effect should be given in Sierra Leone to
the provisions of certain Treaties of Commerce and Navigation
mentioned in the Schedule hereto
1.
This Act may be cited as the Administration of Estates by Consular
Officers Act, and shall apply to Sierra Leone.
2.
Whenever any subject or citizen of any State mentioned in the
first column of the Schedule hereto-
a.
dies within Sierra Leone, or
b.
dies outside Sierra Leone leaving property within Sierra Leone,
and no person other than the Administrator and Registrar-General is
present in Sierra Leone at the time of his death who is rightfully
entitled to administer the estate of such deceased person, the Consul,
Vice-Consul or Consular Officer of such State within Sierra Leone may
take possession and have the custody of the property of such deceased
person, and may apply the same in payment of his debts and funeral
expenses, and may retain the surplus for the benefit of the persons
entitled thereto; but such Consul, Vice-Consul or Consular Officer
shall immediately apply for; and shall be entitled to obtain from the
Court, Letters of Administration of the property of such deceased
person, limited in such manner and for such time as to the Court shall
seem fit.
3.
It shall be lawful for the President by Order published in the
Gazette to vary the Schedule-
a.
by deleting therefrom any State when the provisions of the Treaty
with that State mentioned in the Schedule shall have ceased to
have effect;
b.
by adding thereto any State with whom the Government of Sierra
Leone shall make a Treaty of Commerce and Navigation containing
provision similar to any of the provisions mentioned in the
Schedule.
8 of 1945
24 of 1952.
1 of 1955.
“Ordinance amended to
“Act” by
Act 29/1972.
“Ordinance”
Substituted for
“Act” by Act 29/ 1972
Short title.
“Native Court” substituted for “Local Court” by virtue of Act 20/1963
Sec.1 as amended by Act 29/1972
Interpretation
“Supreme Court” substituted for “High Court” by sec.7, Act No.29 of
1972
Cap.173
As amended by Act 19/1972 sec.2
Appointment of Administrator and Registrar-General
“Governor” substituted for “President” by Act 29/1972
Corporation sole As amended by No.19 of 1972 sec. 3
Appointment of agent by Administrator and Registrar General and
remuneration
Fees and expenses of Administrator
24 of 1952
“colony” substituted for “Sierra Leone” by Act 29/1972
Relief of Administrator & Registrar General from liability
Sale of goods of third party
Grants to Administrator & Registrar General and effects.
Intestate devolution
Liability of assets for payment of debts
Application for grant by Administrator and Registrar-General
Grant to persons appearing
Grant of letters of administration to widow or widower or next-of-kin
Grant of probate or letters of administration to revoke grant to the
Administrator and Registrar-General
Title of administrator
Administrator to be trustee.
As amended by Act 29/1972
Appointment of Administrator and Registrar-General of estate
unadministered
Transfer by executor or administrator to Administrator and
Registrar-General
Advertisements for debts and claims
Distribution of estate
“crown” substituted for “state” by Act No 29 of 1972 sec 7
Proving of claims
No. sale of. Land without consent of parties or order of court
Personalty to be realised
Directions by Court
Assets of persons not domiciled in Sierra Leone payable to executor
abroad
Keeping accounts
Filling of accounts
Filing of interim account
Power to transfer share of minor to relative
Disposal of proceeds of intestate estates without a widow or widower,
or next-of- kin
Petitions to Court
What must be stated
Service to Official Administrator
Hearing
Ground of Petition
Order on Petition
Assets unclaimed within two years to lapse to Government
Powers of President to dispose of assets
Duty of heads of department to notify deaths
Administration by the Administrator and Registrar General of estate of
deceased expatriate officers
Agent of Administrator and Registrar General in Sierra Leone
Limitation of administration
Publication of notice by Administrator
Certain articles to be sent to the Consular Officer As amended by Act
29/1972
Rendering of accounts and the Order of Court.
As amended by Act 29/1972
Interim accounts
Change of administration by Order of Court
Power to administer where assets do not exceed £50
Power to remit fees in estates not exceeding £50
Wages or salary not exceeding £10 to be paid to widow or relative of
deceased person in certain cases
Native Intestate Estates not within jurisdiction of Local Court.
“Local” substituted for “Native” by Act. No.20 of 1963 sec.3
Administrator and Registrar-General to ascertain customary law
Sec. 43(2), (3) & (4) amended by Act No.16 of 1975
Annual Report of Administrator and Registrar-general
“House of Representative substituted for
“Parliament” by sec.7 Act No.29 of 1972
Rules of Court Cap. 7.
Section 19
8 of 1940
“Ordinance” substituted by “Act”
Act 29/1972
Short title
“Colony” substituted by “Sierra Leone”.
Act 29/1972
Administration of Estates by Consular Officer
“Official Administrator” replaced by “Administrator and Registrar
General”
By Act 19/1972
Variation of Schedule
“President” substitutes “Governor” by Act 29/1972
SCHEDULE*
Name of State
Title of Treaty
Date of Treaty
Provision
Finland
Treaty of Commerce and Navigation between the United Kingdom and
Finland
14th December, 1923
Article 19 (Third Paragraph)
Estonia
Treaty of Commerce and Navigation between the United Kingdom and
Estonia
18th January, 1926
Article 22
Hungary
Treaty of Commerce and Navigation between the United Kingdom and
Hungary
23rd July, 1926
Article 14
Yugolavia
Treaty of Commerce and Navigation between the United Kingdom and the
Kingdom of the Serbs, Coats and Slovenes
12th May, 1927
Article 24
Turkey
Treaty of Commerce and Navigation between the United Kingdom and
Turkey
1st March, 1930
Article 28
Roumania
Treaty of Commerce and Navigation between the United Kingdom and
Roumania
6th August, 1930
Article 28
Thailand
Treaty of Commerce and Navigation between the United Kingdom and Siam
(Thailand)
23rd November, 1937
Article 19
* There are also the following Consular Conventions, concluded in 1951
or thereafter, which contain clauses providing for the administration
of estates by Consular Officers, and the preambles’ of which state
that their provisions shall apply to all territories for whose
international relations the United Kingdom is responsible-
Name of State
Title of Convention
Date of Convention
Provision
Norway
Consular between the United Kingdom and Norway
22nd February 1951
Part VI Article 22
United States
Consular between the United Kingdom and the United States
6th June, 1951
Part VII Article 18
France
Consular between the United Kingdom and France
31st December. 1951
Part VI Article 29
Sweden
Consular between the United Kingdom and Sweden
14th March, 1952
Part VI Article 22
Greece
Consular between the United Kingdom and Greece
17th April, 1953
Part VI A Article 22
Mexico
Consular between the United Kingdom and Mexico
20th June, 1954
Part VI Article 23
Italy
Consular between the United Kingdom and Italy
1st June, 1954
Part VI Article 23
Germany
Consular between the United Kingdom and Germany
30th July, 1956
Part VI Article 21
BIRTHS AND DEATHS
Contents:
1.
Aku Mohammedan Burial Grounds Act Cap 91
2.
Burial Registration (Freetown) Act Cap 94
3.
Births and Deaths Act No.11 of 1983

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