QUESTION: Dear Legal Wiz
My father died almost eight yeas ago and my mother and I are the only beneficiaries to his estate. I want to sell my father’s land, but cannot find the title. A lawyer, recommended by a bank, said it costs $100,000 just to acquire the title, plus additional fees to get the title probated. He said it takes between six months to a year just to get the title, which I will need to sell the land. After that, there will be fees again to get my name on the title. I sent him copies of my identification to confirm my address, and havent heard anything. Is this normal? Can you assist? Can you work with me and help me to get a lawyer as necessary?
Scared in Rural Jamaica
RESPONSE: Dear Scared in Rural Jamaica,
Thank you for making contact. Firstly, only a will left by a dead person can be probated. If you do not have a will nothing can be be probated, and, you will need to apply for Letters of Administration. Where there is no probate of will, the Letters of Administration authorises you to do away with the land.
There are three stages for you:
1. acquire a certified copy
2. Apply letters of Administration
3. Transfer title to your name or
3a. Selling land and transfer the title direct to name of the buyer
Your fees overall will include retainer, labour, fees to government entities and/or agencies such as taxes as applicable. On this site information is available.
SECONDLY, where title is concerned, application for a replacement usually takes up to six weeks.
The steps are outlined on this site. In summary they are:
A) Fill in and submit an application in the form of a declaration to the Land Titles Division. The Legal Form which can be used to make this type of declaration is available on the NLA website, or a lawyer can be contracted to prepare this document for you, on your behalf.
NOTE: This step can be done without an Attorney-at-Law, but acquiring one is recommended.
B) Prepare and submit to a Statutory Declaration. All registered owners of the property must be signatories to this declaration.
A member of the legal legwork team can assist, and where necessary a lawyer with who you can work comfortably can be sourced for you.