QUESTION: Dear Legal Wiz,
Imagine my dilemma and see if you can help me. I was left property in Manchester, by my father who died. I could not come out, to Jamaica, to deal with it, but, kept in touch with the executor. I came out, to Jamaica, the other day to see persons living on the land. These persons told me they are the owners. I paid a lawyer huge sums to get them off, and he is now telling me that he can’t. He is telling me that I have to pay even bigger sums to take them to Supreme Court as based on his investigations, they are legal owners. When I asked him to explain he told me the executor who is now dead had teamed up with a lawyer over 10 years ago and sold the land. According to the lawyer, the persons who are living there are persons related to the new owner, who bought it from the person who bought it from the executor and his lawyer. Can I do something as these persons are just the children and baby father of the new owners by will, as the owner who bought it from the owner who bought it from the executor is dead?
RESPONSE: Dear Perita,
In this case, the lawyer is being very fair, and I am sure he understands your anger and reactions. In fact, the price you were quoted is also fair, and to be honest you are indebted to the lawyer you contracted, as you did not pay him the balance as per your contract for the work he carried out. The executor is the one who had legal authority to act on your behalf, but for reasons which were not discussed the property was sold making any person who legally bought it, the legal owner and protected by law.
I understand your dilemma, and it is a warning to persons living abroad to keep abreast with, and monitor, or, have someone act on their behalf, regarding any property left for them carefully. I can only encourage you to seek to acquire another piece of land legally, pay up your balance outstanding with this lawyer so that there is no ill fate. I further suggest you sit and speak with your lawyer on your next visit to see what steps you can take to get compensation if any. Especially as the attorney who assisted in the sale and the executor are both dead.
All the best.