Legal Update – 19 March 2019

Probate inventory must be filed in 6 months – Circular

  • All Deputy Registrars to send Probate reports to the Chief Court Registrar
  • Executors/administrators to file inventory report to the Court concerning administration of deceased’s estate
  • Filling of inventory report must be done within 6 months after a grant of probate/letters of administration
  • Executor/administrator required to appear in Court if not filed inventory report

In a bid to ensure proper and timely administration of probate matters, the Chief Court Registrar has issued a Circular No. 1 to all Deputy Registrars (DRs) on 26 February 2019.

The Circular makes it mandatory for all the DRs to supervise and report on the closing of the probate. Thereafter the DRs must send a report to the Chief Court Registrar on the status of all probate matters in their respective zones on a monthly basis.

Furthermore, the Circular requires all the executors/administrators, within 6 months from the grant of probate, to file inventory report to the Court showing all the money received, payments made, and property or other assets sold or otherwise transferred by her/him.

The Circular reinforces what is already provided in the Probate and Administration of Estate Act, Cap 352 R.E 2002 and Primary Courts (Administration of Estates Rules, GN No. 49 of 1971). Both these laws require filing in Court of an inventory report within 6 months which most executors/administrators have not been complying with. Further, Primary Courts probate are supposed to be closed in four months and District Courts and High Courts to be closed in one year from the date of granting.

The Circular obliges Courts to fix a date for filling the inventory report or causing the executors/administrators to appear in Court. The Circular observes that the laxity has led to beneficiaries not getting their entitlements on time, increased complaints against the Judiciary and backlog of petition for probate/letters of administration which are yet to be closed with no reasonable reasons.

The Circular also reminds the executors/administrators that non-compliance of the above requirement will result to an offence which is punishable by a fine not exceeding two thousand shillings or to imprisonment for a term not exceeding 6 months.