Curator Explains The Functions Of Her Office
By Musa Saho
The Curator of Intestate Estates office, under the Ministry of Justice, is responsible for the collection, management, and administration of intestate estates. As part of its efforts to create public awareness regarding its works, has today on the 20th April 2023, outlined the office's key functions, responsibilities and procedures to administer the estate of a deceased person in The Gambia.
In an interview with the Communication officer, the Curator of Intestate Estates, Ms. Aji Adam Ceesay stated that, her office assumes the responsibility of administering estates of deceased persons on the occurrence of the following events: a person has died intestate ( meaning they did not leave a will, or some assets are not disposed of by their will); the deceased, having made a will devising or bequeathing his or her estate, has omitted to appoint an executor; probate or letters of administration with the will annexed has not been obtained within six months from the death of the testator; or the deceased has named the Curator as sole executor of his or her will.
According to her, the Curator will then apply to the High Court for an order authorizing him or her to administer the estate of the deceased person.
She went further to outline the procedures to administer the estate of a person that has died intestate.
Firstly, the beneficiaries are asked to fill out a declaration form (D Form) with detailed information about the deceased, his or her estate, beneficiaries, and witnesses. The form shall then be submitted with photocopies of the death certificate of the deceased, birth certificates of the children of the deceased, and marriage certificate of the widow or widower (In the absence of a marriage certificate, an affidavit may be deposed to by a person who is aware of the marriage).
She further stated that upon completion and submission of the form, the curator will issue a notice to be published in the Gazette for a period of fourteen days, and shall then apply to the court for an order to administer the estate of the deceased person and the court if satisfied, shall grant the order.
“Upon the court granting the order, the Curator then has power over the estate of the deceased. The Curator can also administer an estate without notice if he/she obtains an order to administer the estate of the person, where the court is satisfied that the estate will probably be purloined, lost, destroyed, or damaged, or that great expense will be incurred by delay in the matter,” she said.
She further mentioned that it is pertinent to understand that the Curator also has a limited mandate to administer the estate of a non-ECOWAS national who died in The Gambia while in the employment of the Public Service.
“In the case of the aforementioned persons, the Curator is limited to the following: to realize the assets of the deceased within the jurisdiction; pay his or her funeral and testamentary expenses; pay all the debts of the deceased; and remit the balance to the legal representatives of the deceased who are not within the jurisdiction. She added that her office will ensure proper collection, management, and administration of the estate of the deceased and ensure that deceased families enjoy effective and efficient service delivery in relation to the assets and properties of the deceased.
She concluded by saying that her office has plans to embark on sensitization campaigns on the roles and functions of the curator's office in order to enhance public awareness of their roles and responsibilities.