Grants of administration of Estates

Estate administration involves the gathering of the deceased person’s estate, paying all the debts and distributing the remaining assets.

The administration of the estate is the responsibility of the personal representative of the deceased whether the deceased died testate (having made a will) or intestate (did not make a will).

Administration of estate may be done in two ways:-

  1. A Grant of Probate

A Grant of Probate is given in respect of the Estate of a Testate after being approved that the deceased left a valid will whether oral or written.  The Grant of Probate should be in respect of all the property to which the will provides which means property that is not provided for in the will is subject to intestacy rules.  A grant of Probate is made to the executor or executors named in the Will.  

  1. A Grant of Letters of Administration

A Grant of Letters of Administration is given in two instances:

  1. Where the deceased left a will but there is no proving the executor either because the will has not named an executor, the executor died or the executor is unwilling to act.
  2. Where the deceased died intestate.

Who may apply for Grant of Letters of Administration?

Those entitled to apply include those connected to the intestate by marriage or consanguinity. As a general rule the order of next of kin in respect of right of administration is as follows:

  • Spouses
  • Children
  • Grandchildren
  • Great Grandchildren
  • Ascendants i.e. parents of the deceased


The courts usually  have the following order of preference:-

  1. Surviving spouses
  2. Beneficiaries entitled on intestacy
  3. Public Trustees
  4. Creditors

The practice is Kenya is that where the Petitioner’s right of administration is inferior or equal to that of other persons, the consent of those others with prior right or equal right must be obtained.  This takes the form of renunciation of the right of probate or right of administration.

Grant of administration should not be made to minors, persons of unsound mind or to persons who are bankrupt neither should they be made to more than four persons in respect of the same property or the same estate.  They should also not be made to a body corporate other than the public trustee or Trust corporation.  

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