I noticed the reoccurring misconception of the next of kin. I will like to address some of these misconceptions and how to recover such funds (to the best of my knowledge).
THIS IS FOR PERSONS WHO DIED INTESTATE (WITHOUT LEAVING BEHIND A VALID WILL)
1: Who is a next of kin (NOK)?
The NOK is the closest living (mostly) blood relative to an individual. For some people, it could be their spouse, parent, siblings, children…even friends.
2: What is the NOK entitled to?
NOK is just a contact person, he/she is NOT AUTOMATICALLY ENTITLED TO THE DECEASED’S ESTATE. Emphasis on automatically because there are situations where the NOK would eventually double as the BENEFICIARY.
3: Who is a BENEFICIARY?
A beneficiary is someone who receives all or part of the deceased’s estate.
4: What then is the NOK for?
You might be wondering, since the person won’t be given your funds without paperworks, why fill that space in your Account opening forms? Well, the NOK is that person to be contacted in event of emergencies or whenever the need arises. It shouldn’t be a minor.
PROCEDURES TO RECOVER FUNDS FROM A DECEASED’S BANK ACCOUNT;
A:—The survivor(s) to the deceased should head to the Probate Registry in a High Court to apply for an administration of deceased estate/properties. This application must be accompanied by a DEATH CERTIFICATE and can be done IN PERSON OR THROUGH A LEGAL PRACTITIONER.
The process to get the LETTER OF ADMINISTRATION is very much the same across states, though there might be slight differences. Application must contain the following;
-Full names of deceased.
-Date of death of deceased.
-Last residence before death.
-Name of proposed administrators
You will be guided on every other form to fill or required documents and identification.
Persons that can apply for the letter of administration are generally called NOKs and are classified in this heirarchy;
– Surviving spouse(s) of the deceased
– Children of the deceased
– Parents of the deceased
– Brothers or sisters of the deceased of full blood or the children of such sibling.
– Brother or sister of the deceased of half-blood or the children of such sibling.
– Grandparents of the deceased
– Uncles and aunts of full blood or their children
B:—The Probate Registry would give you a letter of confirmation to be taken to banks, financial houses as well as stockbrokers the deceased shared business relationships with. This will enable them disclose the deceased’s financial standing as of that date.
C:— Return the confirmation to the Probate Registry. They will add up the deceased’s balances and apply their charges. You will be required to make payments. After payments, the paperwork for you to be administrator would be concluded.
D:—Upon issuance of the Letter of Administration, it should be taken to all the (SUSPECTED) banks where the deceased had accounts for claims. The beneficiary can then decide to open an estate account to move the funds or take it cash. When he/she opts for the latter, the bank would issue a bank draft.
>>2 guarantors (preferably with landed properties) would be required to fill some documents, to support their application to the probate registry, before the letter of administration can be issued.
>>The process could take some time because publication would be made in the gazette or newspaper. This is to give any interested person the opportunity to object and file a caveat to the grant of letter of administration to the applicant.
>>Objection may be raised within specified period for filing a caveat. In the absence of any, the letters of administration would be granted.
>>There are various fees to be paid before its application is evaluated and approved.
However, once approved by the Probate Registry, an estate fee of 5-10% (depending on the state) of the estate’s value is paid to the State Government where the Letter of Administration is made and approved.
>>Is there a statute of limitation on filing for the estate of a dead relative? If there is, how long is it?
No, there isn’t. Whenever the relatives are up to it, they would be given the funds upon presentation of necessary documents.
>>What happens when the relatives do not know all the deceased’s bank accounts?
In this era of BVN, the relatives can state this request at the Court. They would help with an order mandating the bank to make known all accounts linked to the deceased.
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