Administration of Estates Act, 1959

General provisions as to assent or transfer by personal representatives.

20.—(1) In this section and in section 21 of this Act—

(a) references to the land of a testator or intestate are references to land to which the testator or intestate was entitled or over which he exercised a general power of appointment by will;

(b) “person entitled” includes, in relation to any estate or interest in the land of a testator or intestate—

(i) the person or persons (including the personal representatives of the testator or intestate or any of them) who (whether by devise, bequest, devolution or otherwise) may be beneficially entitled to that estate or interest, and

(ii) the trustee or trustees or the personal representatives or representative of any such person or persons.

(2) Without prejudice to any other power conferred by this Act on personal representatives with respect to any land of a testator or intestate, the personal representatives may at any time after the death of the testator or intestate execute an assent vesting any estate or interest in any such land in the person entitled thereto or may transfer any such estate or interest to the person entitled thereto, and may make the assent or transfer either subject to or free from a charge for the payment of any money which the personal representatives are liable to pay.

(3) Where an assent or transfer under subsection (2) of this section is made subject to a charge for all moneys, if any, which the personal representatives are liable to pay, all liabilities of the personal representatives in respect of the land shall cease, except as to any acts done or contracts entered into by them before the assent or transfer.

(4) At any time after the expiration of one year from the death of an owner of land, if the personal representatives have failed on the request of the person entitled to transfer, by assent or otherwise, the land to the person entitled, the Court may, if it thinks fit, on the application of the person entitled and after notice to the personal representatives, order that the transfer be made, and, in default of compliance with that order within the time specified therein by the Court, may make an order vesting the land in the person entitled as fully and effectually as might have been done by a transfer thereof by the personal representatives.

(5) An assent not in writing shall not be effectual to pass any estate or interest in land.

(6) The statutory covenants implied by a person being expressed in a deed to convey as personal representative shall also be implied in any assent signed by a personal representative unless the assent Otherwise provides.

(7) It shall not be lawful for some or one only of several joint personal representatives, without leave of the Court, to make an assent or transfer under this section, save that—

(a) where probate is granted to one or some of several persons named as executors, whether or not power is reserved to the others or other to prove, such assent or transfer may, notwithstanding any other provision or rule of law to the contrary, be made by the proving executor or executors, without leave of the Court, as fully and effectually as if all the persons named as executors had concurred therein;

(b) where the proving executor or executors exercise any power conferred by paragraph (a) of this subsection, this section and sections 21 and 22 shall have effect as if references therein to personal representatives were references to the proving executor or executors.

(8) Where one of two or more proving executors has died, references in subsection (7) of this section to a proving executor or executors shall be construed as references to the survivor or survivors (as the case may be) of the proving executors,

(9) This section shall not operate to impose any stamp duty in respect of an assent.