QUESTION: Dear Legal Wiz,
My mother passed in 1960 and title to land/property was transferred to my brother’s name. My brother passed in 1986. Brother’s wife paid taxes on property to 1994. I (sister) have been paying the taxes on the property from 1994 to date. My brother’s wife also passed in 2011. I have tried writing to the said Attorney’s in Jamaica who processed the original transfer of title in 1960. At first the contact person at the attorney’s office seems quite keen to help. However, on sending them copies of the papers relating to the property/title all communication from them stopped. They are not returning my calls or reply to my emails. I can only assume that the value of the property wasn’t worth them putting in any time with transfer of title/name.
Could you please advise how I can move forward with this independently of an attorney. Below are some background information on the case.
– We have the deceased – Brother died Dec 1986, and his wife died July 2011.
– In the period (1987) I received letter from wife advising me (sister) to take over matters relating to said property in Kingston
– Both deceased were of Jamaican Heritage and immigrated to New York, USA mid-1950s.
– Both deceased were without children inside/outside of marriage
– All siblings of wife now deceased
– Only surviving sibling of brother is me (Sister)
– Cannot find a Will and Testament
RESPONSE: Dear Noreen Nooks,
Perhaps you are getting upset, and expressing too much frustration with the attorney, which further frustrates them. So its recommended that you do everything you can to maintain a good relationship and efficient communications with their office. If they are still reluctant, and you feel shortchanged, you then could consider a few options to act independently, but your issues will need someone with experience to assist you along the way in any event.
Here are a few steps you can make, should you insist on following through independent of the attorney.
The first step is to be clear on what you want to be the end result, and the possible methods to accomplishing them, as well as the likely outcomes.
Conduct research to be clear on what’s happening at all the entities involved. This includes obtaining an update from the attorney’s office in what has been done already, if anything.
You need to get the latest status report on the title, and taxes and the property in terms of occupancy.
You also will need an understanding on the process to application for administration of the property when there was no will. Such information can be found on this site.
You also have an option to seek an address through the disciplinary committee of the General Legal Council of Jamaica, but that can be a drastic measure and must only be done when you are sure you have been wronged by the attorney.
Our team can assist you in a number of ways. As priority, doing the legwork on your behalf, and we can also consult with an attorney on your behalf, or have an attorney work with you directly. We can also prepare the paperwork for your application and other procedures necessary for a fee.
Our fee to make all the relevant checks is feasible. A power-of-attorney or letter of authorisation document may be required, if you rely on us in your absence.