WHAT IS A DEED OF ASSENT IN NIGERIA
It is crucial to note that a will is merely a legal document that specifies how a testator's assets will be distributed after death; it cannot, by itself, grant title or ownership to a beneficiary.
WHAT IS A DEED OF ASSENT IN NIGERIA
A Deed of Assent is a document or instrument used by the Executor or legal Administrator of an estate to transfer, hand over, or vest a legal interest or title in a deceased person's property in the name of the beneficiary indicated in a Will or any other third party. It gives the beneficiary possession of a gift made in accordance with a will. The administration of a decedent's estate is governed and controlled by the administration of estate laws of each State in the Federation.
It is crucial to note that a will is merely a legal document that specifies how a testator's assets will be distributed after death; it cannot, by itself, grant title or ownership to a beneficiary. A deed of assent is used by executors or administrators of an estate to legally transfer ownership of a gift made in a will to the designated beneficiaries or a third party. When a deed of assent has been properly performed in the beneficiaries' favour, a third party cannot later assert claims to the assets that have been properly transferred to the intended beneficiaries.
EFFECT OF AN ASSENT IN LAGOS STATE
Section 40 of the Administration of Estate Law of Lagos State provides for the effect of assent by the personal representative. It states that “a personal representative may assent to the vesting in any person who either by devise, bequest, devolution, appropriation or otherwise, may be entitled to, either beneficiary or as a trustee or personal representative, of any estate or interest in real estate to which the testator or interstate was entitled or over which he exercised a general power of appointment by his will and which devolved upon the personal representative”.
According to the aforementioned provision, a beneficiary cannot assert a claim to their part of a deceased person's inheritance unless the Executors or Administrators have approved the vesting of the property in writing.
CONDITIONS OF A VALID ASSENT
The following requirements must be satisfied in order for a deed of assent to the vesting of a legal estate to be legitimate. The following prerequisites are listed in Section 40(4) of the Lagos State Administration of Estate Laws.
The assent must be in writing;
It must be duly signed by all personal representatives or executors;
The property in relation to which the assent is granted must be .certain and;
The beneficiary in whose favour it is given must be stated.
APPLICATION FOR THE REGISTRATION OF A DEED OF ASSENT
A deed of assent is typically not registrable because stamp duty is not paid on it, but in cases where real property is covered by the subject property vested to a beneficiary in a will, it must be registered at the relevant land registry in the location of the property in order to notify the state and the public that the ownership of the property has changed.
The Lands Bureau of Lagos State, Directorate of Land Registry, has published a checklist of the requirements for its registration. The following conditions must be met:
An application letter addressed to the Registrar of Titles requesting to register a deed of assent with a functional phone number and email address.
Two copies of the deed of assent, which must be dated, signed and each page initialled.
Passport photographs of all the administrator/executors to be attached to the deed.
The front cover of the deed must be signed and sealed by the solicitor who prepared the deed.
A certified true copy of the root of the title.
A certified true copy of the letter of administration/ Will.
A sworn affidavit deposed to by the administrators/executors attesting to the vesting.
Original for sighting and one copy of the valid means of identification of all the administrators/executors.
Without a properly executed deed of assent, which must be signed by the Executors or Administrators to the Will, the title in a property cannot pass to the intended specified beneficiary or any other person. And as was already mentioned, once it has satisfied the requirements outlined above, a third party cannot assert claims to the assets of the deceased that have already been transferred to the beneficiaries.
NB: This article is not a legal advice, and under no circumstance should you take it as such. All information provided are for general purpose only. For information, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org
WRITTEN BY CHAMAN LAW FIRM TEAM
TEL: 08065553671, 08024230080