Executing a Will in Barbados

For those who are going through the painful process executing a will in Barbados, here are a few notes on what to look out for.

Once the will has been read, instruct the solicitor to make the announcements in the media immediately.

Two announcements need to go into the media over fourteen days.

Nothing can proceed without these announcements so it is best to get them out the way first.

Next the solicitor will have to carry out a search of the estate’s assets. This is where the solicitor writes to all the banks and financial institutions to find out whether the deceased has any holdings in those institutions. You may be asked to pursue other institutions such as pensions, life insurance and others.

It can take financial and other institutions up to a month to get back to you with information.

You may be asked to send originals of death certificates to some institutions, so be sure to send them via registered post and insist that they are returned to you in the same manner.

Once all of the assets of the estate have been accounted, you will be asked to go into the Magistrate’s court and sign an affidavit in front of the court officials.

This is not the will going into probate.

The solicitor then needs to collate all the information gathered and the legal clerk will then submit the will into probate.

It is important that all information has been submitted otherwise the probate will not begin until all the papers are with the court.

Check with you solicitor that all the paperwork is submitted and, if possible, ask for written or pictorial verification of the fact that the will is now in probate.

The Justice Minister in Barbados has determined that the clerks should take no longer that two weeks to process a Will, however if you know Barbados, you will only now have finished laughing at this sentence. In practice mine took two months, and I am told that the Magistrate’s clerk went on holiday so all work stopped. I would expect that with the right persistence from you solicitor’s clerk the Will should be approved by the court within a month.

Once the Will is approved by the Magistrate’s court, it comes out of probate and the executor will be issued with the ‘Letter of Testimonial’ more commonly known as ‘Letter of Administration’ within ten days.

Once the Executor has received the Letter of Administration they will be able to access the assets of the estate and distribute in accordance to the Will.

The four main banks act very differently when distributing funds of the diseased.

In all cases you will need to present:

the death certificate,

Letter of Administration,

Your ID card (not driver’s licence or other government id)

Passport as secondary id

(Additional information may be required as explained later)

If your name is on the account, then in all cases you will be able to transfer the money into your own account.

If the deceased was with Royal Bank of Canada or Soctibank, you will be able to transfer the money into an account of your choosing either as an account transfer, a third party bank transfer, a wire transfer to a foreign bank, or a banker’s cheque.

If the deceased was with the CIBC First Caribbean Bank, they are forced to follow the legal laws of Trinidad, and as a result you will have to set up a new account titled ‘The estate of [the deceased] c/o [the executor]’. This wording is very precise, as the money can only be transferred or cheque written to this account from the decease’s account.

If the executor is fortunate to have an account with CIBC, then they will use the existing details of there account to set up the new account. This is very useful if the executor is not a resident in Barbados as it reduces the number or items documents required for verification.

If the deceased was with Republic Bank and the executor’s name is not also on the account, you are shit out of luck.

In addition to the requirements for CIBC, you will not be able to use your existing accounts with Republic Bank as part verification of identity. You will need to provide all new information as if you were a new customer.

If the executor can not demonstrate an income, they will not be able to open an account with Republic Bank.

If the executor is not resident in Barbados, they will have to provide additional proof of id, and residence from their country of habitat. All documents will have to be notarised and originals, no scans or copies, all delivered in person.


If there is property involved, it will need to be surveyed by a surveyor and the plans submitted to the Town and Country Planning office.

Surveying three acres of land should take no more than five days. The plans should be into Town and Country Planning no more than a week after that.

The plans will then be reviewed, and presuming there are no issues the plans are approved and issued with a certificate of compliance.

Your solicitor will need the specifications on the plans in order to draw up the final deeds.

Once you have the Certificate of Compliance from the Land Registry your solicitor will review and finallise the Assents. He will then submit Assents to executor via courier for signatures. Once returned the Assents are recorded before the Final assents is deliver to executor.

Final tips

You will need to keep on at your solicitor. They will try to stretch out the work for anything up to two years, with no proper explanations of conceivable reasons given.

Ask for constant updates, and set acceptable milestones. If these are not reached, ask for proper explanations.

If you are unhappy with the work of your solicitor do not be afraid to change solicitors. Always have a back up solicitor on hand so that if you are unhappy with the service of one, you can switch to the backup without loss of momentum.

Where possible become a signatory on the account of the person before they are deceased.

If you know that you are going to be the executor of a parent of partner, get them to put you on the account before they die. This will make accessing their funds easier in the long run.

If your name is not on the account, it is a crime to steal money from a deceases account via ATM or other means, when there are other beneficiaries to those funds.

If you as the executor and know that land will be included in a Will, get the land surveyed and have the plans registered with Town and Country Planning before the person dies.  This does not mean that ownership changes hands, but it does speed up the process when you have to execute the Will, and rules out any compliance issues early which may cause delays.

~ by jeditopcat on 13 October, 2018.

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