Letters of Administration is the legal authority given by the court to a person(s) to administer the estate of a deceased person who died without a valid will. Under the laws of Ghana, it is an offence to deal with or administer an estate of a deceased without first securing the needed authority from the court. Therefore, it is very important that personal representatives of the deceased obtain a Letters of Administration before dealing or administering the Estate of the deceased.


Under the relevant laws of Ghana the following, in order of priority, are the legitimate persons who can validly apply for letters of Administration over a deceased estate:

  1. Any surviving Spouse
  2. Any surviving Children
  3. Any Surviving Parent
  4. The Customary Successor

A maximum of four person can apply for the letters of administration at a time.


The Application shall be made to the court which has jurisdiction over the deceased last place of abode. Depending on the value of the estate the application can be made to the following courts:

  1. The High Court
  2. The Circuit Court
  3. The District or Magistrate Court

The application has to be attached with an affidavit sworn by the Applicants. The affidavit shall contain the following details:

  1. The Details of the Applicant;
  2. The Deceased place and date of death;
  3. The Deceased last place of abode;
  4. The Details of the Surviving Spouse and Children;
  5. The Details of the Estate of the Deceased.

In addition to the above the Applicant(s) shall attach to the application, the relevant forms and proof of death. The proof of death can be in the form of Death Certificate, Burial Permit etc.

Further to ensure that the deceased family are aware of the application, the court will require that the Applicants attached to the application, an affidavit sworn by the head of the family of the deceased deposing that they are in support of the application.


Upon the grant of the letters of Administration and before the issuance of the Letter of the Administration, the court will order that a notice of the grant shall be placed at the deceased's last place of abode for a period of not less than Twenty (21) days. The court shall issue the Letters of Administration upon the expiration of the notice period.


A person who has interest in the estate of the deceased and who wishes that the grant of the Letter of Administration should be on notice to him/her should file a caveat before the grant of the Letters of Estate.


It usually takes a period of two to three months to complete.


Upon the grant of the letters of administration, the Applicants will then be issued with the requisite authority to manage and distribute the Estate of the deceased in accordance with the relevant laws of Ghana.


If it becomes necessary that a property of the deceased has to be transferred to a beneficiary, a vesting accent will be prepared to transfer the property from the deceased to the nominated beneficiary.

Upon vesting the property in the nominated beneficiary, the beneficiary becomes the absolute owner of the property from the date the vesting accent was executed.


Cost associated with the Application of letters of Administration is three folds:

  1. Legal Fees
  2. Administration fees
  3. Stamp duty

Legal fees are the charges the applicants may incur from lawyers. Administration fees are normally, the cost incurred in the filing of the application and other incidental cost associated with the application. Stamp duty is a statutory fees paid by the Application upon the grant of the Letters of Administration. It is normally 3% of the value of the entire estate of the deceased.

The content of this article is intended to provide a general guide to the subject matter. Specialist advice should be sought about your specific circumstances.