We are able to assist clients in relation to estate planning and succession. We assist family members in applying for the necessary Grants of Probate or Letters of Administration where a party has died with or without a will respectively. It is a wise decision to sit with a lawyer in Belize to discuss estate planning with respect to assets that you may have that are governed by the laws of Belize.

Validity of Wills in Belize
A will is a revocable declaration in a prescribed form, made in contemplation of death, expressing the intent of the person making it regarding the matters which he intends to take effect after his death. Under the Wills Act, Chapter 203, of Laws of Belize, there are certain conditions that must be met in order for a will be deemed valid. These conditions include, but are not limited to the following:

  • The will must be in writing and signed by the testator;
  • The testator must sign the will before two independent witnesses who must also sign at the same time; and
  • The will must be dated.

The Administrator or Executor of a Will (Personal Representative)
The personal representatives are the individuals who administer the estate left by the deceased. Generally they hold office during the administration period which is usually around 12 months. They are sometimes described as stepping in to the deceased person’s shoes. The personal representative of the deceased is appointed as either his Executor or Administrator depending on whether or not he or she was appointed via the testator’s will or whether he died intestate.
In the case of a will, the testator would appoint an “Executor” or “Executrix” to extract the “Grant of Probate” in Belize which would then entitle him or her to distribute the assets of the deceased. The Executor’s duties consist of, but are not limited to the following, paying the testator’s debts, funeral expenses and distributing the testator’s estate to those who are entitled.
Executors are normally appointed either:

  • by virtue of the express provision in a will
  • by delegation found under a power of appointment, conferred by the testator in his will,
  • by the Supreme Court of Belize

On the other hand, if the deceased did not leave a valid will in Belize an administrator would be appointed pursuant to the laws of Belize (Administration of Estates Act, Chapter 197) to apply for a “Grant of Administration.”
If the executor or administrator is not resident in Belize, he or she will have to appoint a local agent to act on his behalf by virtue of a power of attorney. We can assist with this.

Revocation of a Will in Belize
General modes by which a will may be revoked include the following:

  • by the execution of a later will,
  • by divorce,
  • by an informal declaration ,
  • by subsequent marriage, and
  • by destruction.

In order for us to apply for a Grant of Probate we require the following:

  • Application for Grant of Probate (prepared by our office)
  • Affidavits in support of the application (prepared by our office)
  • Certified copy of death/burial certificate of the deceased
  • Original will marked by the signatures of the executor and the persons before whom it was sworn
  • Name of two local sureties (bond)
  • Name of two local persons who may attest to the value of the estate
  • List of assets of the deceased

In order for us to apply for a Letters of Administration we require the following:

  • Application for Letters of Administration (to be prepared by our office)
  • Certified copy of marriage certificate (if Administrator is the wife of the deceased)
  • Certified copy of death certificate
  • Affidavits in support of Application (to be prepared by our office)
  • Name of two local sureties (bond)
  • Name of two local persons who may attest to the value of the estate
  • Lists of assets of the deceased

Note: In Belize there are no estate tax and as a result the beneficiaries will not be required to pay any taxes on the properties (assets) being transferred into their names.

Resealing of Grants in Belize
Resealing is basically the procedure in which a grant is obtained in one jurisdiction and sealed by the court of another jurisdiction which renders the grant as valid and enforceable within the jurisdiction where the resealing took place. Under the laws of Belize there are several jurisdictions that are recognized for resealing purposes.
In order for a Belize attorney to assist with the resealing of a grant issued in a recognized jurisdiction we would require the following:

  • The original grant or a duly certified copy
  • The original will or duly certified copy
  • Certified copy of the power of attorney (where applicable)
  • Administration bond

We are also able to provide the following related services:

  • Preparation of will,
  • Application for Grant of Probate,
  • Application for Grant of Administration,
  • Challenges to will,
  • Advise as to estate planning and structuring,
  • Revocation of a will
  • Alteration of a will
  • Assistance in interpreting the contents of the will
  • Republication of a will in Belize

To Contact a Belize Probate Lawyer
Office: +501-223-3530 | +501-223-3505
Mobile: +501-610-4444