I'm in UK, father died & held assets in Mts, how to claim?

My father recently passed away unexpectedly leaving an estate which I believe comprises some property (land and a house) but I don't know, as we never spoke about it. He had dual nationality and spent time in Mauritius and UK.

I live in, and am from the UK but I also have dual nationality. I have already dealt with his UK assets and received Letters of Administration (probate) from the High Court some weeks ago. My goal is to sell any Mauritius assets and close down bank accounts and remove funds from Mauritius as I have no desire to be there for more than a couple of weeks.

However, I have been unsure how to proceed, as due to my commitments I would rather not drop everything to go there and start the process from the beginning, such as finding out what property he owned, and evicting anyone that lives there, and putting the property(ies) on the market etc.

I thought I would do some legwork before I need to go, such as ascertaining the assets.

However, I have not found professionals on the whole who respond to my emails or pick up the phone.

I tried first Lawyers, but some conveyed (eventually) that they were not the right firms, as they charged high fees for what I require.

Then I tried 'Notary Publics' but not a single one replied to my message of 3-4 weeks ago.

I have a relative over there who might be able to help in some way, but I do not know him. There is no other family who can help.

- Please, does anyone know how I can start the ball rolling with finding the properties/assets, selling them and pocketing what is due to me?

- Or would it be advisable for me to be there from start to finish to ensure no foul play?

- What sort of charges might I expect to pay?

- Any recommendations of a firm/ individual that knows how to answer emails and answer the phone, and isn't spooked by having a client 6,000 miles away?




**This isn't a "Banks & Finance" question, but there was no corresponding section dealing with bereavement/inheritance/estate planning/wills & probate.

HELLO

SORRY FOR YOUR DAD, WISH TO INFORM YOU THAT IT BETTER THAT YOU MOVE TO MAURITIUS TO SOLVE THIS ISSUE INSTEAD OF ASSIGNING SOMETIME FOR THIS JOB.

THANKS
JYOTI

Hello, to start I believe you need to have a Deponent (this may not be the correct term). drafted by an Attorney and sworn by someone who knew him, at the Supreme Court. It sets out your father's details and those of the heirs to his Estate and Succession. You'll need his National Identity Card number and other relevant details/ documents. My wife said she paid about MRU 3,000 for one.

I'm not sure how they ascertain what his Estate consists of if you have no details. Presumably checks at the Land Registry.

Unfortunately to get things done here you often have to meet professionals face to face and that's my experience with lawyers.

Definitely be very careful who you trust or get to assist as there are lots of problems with issues of inheritance here. Also selling property/ land is not as fluid as the U.K. , particularly London, so can take some time and if you have a tenant to deal with that can add a lot of complexity.

I hope that helps a little.

I can recommend you one of the most top notch attorneys on the island that will sort you out. If I recall, there was a similiar situation in which he came through for an expat. I need to dig it out of my files but will be glad to assist. As an American we hold our  legal dealings in a high regard- so my recommendation will certain serve you well.. Cheers- Jonathan

Malibusurfrider :

I can recommend you one of the most top notch attorneys on the island that will sort you out. If I recall, there was a similiar situation in which he came through for an expat. I need to dig it out of my files but will be glad to assist. As an American we hold our  legal dealings in a high regard- so my recommendation will certain serve you well.. Cheers- Jonathan

Thanks - Please send me a message with his/her information. I need all the help I can get. Cheers

Hi creative heart,
I don't need a lawyer but to have the details of one is always an asset, so would really appreciate you sharing the details with me, if you don't mind Thanks
Barbara

Dear Creative Heart

My condolences on the passing of your father and I hope you find the courage to deal with the minefield of processes and procedures you will have to go through in order to liquidate your father's assets here.

As a word of advice and speaking from personal experience, do not expect a reply to your emails. My notary has never responded to any of my emails and rarely responds to phone calls. I suspect the nature of their work keeps them away from their desks for long periods of the day. I would suggest that you find time to come to Mauritius, even just for two weeks, during which time you should make an appointment to meet with a notary who will advise you of what you need to do.

I have a cousin in the UK who last September visited Mauritius and started exactly the same process as you are wishing to do. She had a very constructive meeting with a notary I recommended from personal experience and the outcome was that the rest could be done by email. She was required to produce a whole host of paperwork such as birth certificates of parents and grandparents, death certificates, marriage certificates, birth certificates of siblings etc, so you will be required to do the same. For those of your immediate family who were born in Mauritius, the notary can source this information on your behalf if you don't have time to do it while you are here, provided you have names and dates of birth (they may charge a little extra). For anyone born outside of Mauritius, you will have to do the leg work and obtain the required documentation.

In addition, you will need to bring with you a certified copy of your father's will. This is very important because if the will was drawn up in the UK, under Mauritian law, it will need to be put into a format that makes it a legally recognised document here.

Mauritius has very stringent and specific rules and regulations regarding inheritance, which your notary will make you aware of.

In summary, I would suggest that if you want your inheritance, you should find the time to be here to kick start the whole process, otherwise it can be a very time-consuming and frustrating experience. Try to resist the temptation of hitting the beach first and then sorting out matters at the tail end of your stay. You'll probably be required to do a fair bit of running around to obtain documentation so It's better to get the process started early.

Ensure also that you bring with you your Certificate of Mauritian Citizenship, your Mauritian ID card. (If you don't have one I would strongly recommend that you apply for it while you are in the country - it takes just a few days) and your birth certificate.

I hope this helps.

Wandlewed :

Hello, to start I believe you need to have a Deponent (this may not be the correct term). drafted by an Attorney and sworn by someone who knew him, at the Supreme Court. It sets out your father's details and those of the heirs to his Estate and Succession. You'll need his National Identity Card number and other relevant details/ documents. My wife said she paid about MRU 3,000 for one.

I'm not sure how they ascertain what his Estate consists of if you have no details. Presumably checks at the Land Registry.

Unfortunately to get things done here you often have to meet professionals face to face and that's my experience with lawyers.

Definitely be very careful who you trust or get to assist as there are lots of problems with issues of inheritance here. Also selling property/ land is not as fluid as the U.K. , particularly London, so can take some time and if you have a tenant to deal with that can add a lot of complexity.

I hope that helps a little.

[at]Wandlewed,

That helps a lot – a belated thank you for the information. Just been digesting it all, and I’ve had a few responses via private messaging, and believe I have found a private individual who can help me ascertain any property.

This all makes sense, but I haven’t had much luck finding out about a ‘deponent’, having trawled Google and the (complicated) Supreme Court website. Does anyone know about the process for the deponent paperwork, the correct term, or ideally an attorney who provides these services? I wonder if I can start the process without being physically present in the country, or does it all have to wait until I am there?

It sounds like the “Letters of Administration” that I obtained from the High Court of Justice here in UK, which set me out as the sole heir to the UK assets. Part of the process was swearing an oath. The reason for obtaining these papers was because my father died intestate (without a will). The process took around 6 weeks, so if the Mauritius process takes a similarly long period it would be in my interests to kickstart this before I go to Mauritius, as it would be convenient to spend only two weeks maximum there.

Thanks again for your response.

collisheen :

Dear Creative Heart

My condolences on the passing of your father and I hope you find the courage to deal with the minefield of processes and procedures you will have to go through in order to liquidate your father's assets here.

As a word of advice and speaking from personal experience, do not expect a reply to your emails. My notary has never responded to any of my emails and rarely responds to phone calls. I suspect the nature of their work keeps them away from their desks for long periods of the day. I would suggest that you find time to come to Mauritius, even just for two weeks, during which time you should make an appointment to meet with a notary who will advise you of what you need to do.

I have a cousin in the UK who last September visited Mauritius and started exactly the same process as you are wishing to do. She had a very constructive meeting with a notary I recommended from personal experience and the outcome was that the rest could be done by email. She was required to produce a whole host of paperwork such as birth certificates of parents and grandparents, death certificates, marriage certificates, birth certificates of siblings etc, so you will be required to do the same. For those of your immediate family who were born in Mauritius, the notary can source this information on your behalf if you don't have time to do it while you are here, provided you have names and dates of birth (they may charge a little extra). For anyone born outside of Mauritius, you will have to do the leg work and obtain the required documentation.

In addition, you will need to bring with you a certified copy of your father's will. This is very important because if the will was drawn up in the UK, under Mauritian law, it will need to be put into a format that makes it a legally recognised document here.

Mauritius has very stringent and specific rules and regulations regarding inheritance, which your notary will make you aware of.

In summary, I would suggest that if you want your inheritance, you should find the time to be here to kick start the whole process, otherwise it can be a very time-consuming and frustrating experience. Try to resist the temptation of hitting the beach first and then sorting out matters at the tail end of your stay. You'll probably be required to do a fair bit of running around to obtain documentation so It's better to get the process started early.

Ensure also that you bring with you your Certificate of Mauritian Citizenship, your Mauritian ID card. (If you don't have one I would strongly recommend that you apply for it while you are in the country - it takes just a few days) and your birth certificate.

I hope this helps.

[at]collisheen

Thanks a lot, this has been instructive. It looks as though I must make at least two trips, an initial trip to start the process (meet a notary, provide paperwork, inform them of my claim etc) then again as soon as a sale agreement has been reached with regard to any properties, if applicable (sign papers etc). I really wanted to avoid these demands on my time, but so be it.

My father died intestate (without a will), and the document that proves I have been granted probate over the UK assets, is drawn up by our High Court of Justice, known as the ‘Letters of Administration’. This is proof that I am administrator of the UK estate (the equivalent of ‘executor of the will’, in cases of intestacy).

I am the only family member that was born abroad, and I have all the official documents that you mentioned.

I don’t have a certificate of citizenship, but I am not sure I need one as I have a Mauritian passport and Mauritian ID card, along with proof of the bank account at MCB.

Could you please let me know the details of your notary? I won’t hold out much hope for gaining a response out of him/her by email or phone, but I will need all the help I can get when I go there for the initial trip to deal with all of this.

One more thing, perhaps anyone can answer this that has an insight – I am not thinking to go to Mauritius until the next time that is convenient for me namely April 2016. Next week I will start an intensive 10 week educational course. My father died in September 2015 Will it put me at a disadvantage if I wait a few months until my initial trip there?

Dear Creative Heart

My notary is Etude Patrice Avrillon (The Office of Patrice Avrillon)
You can deal with Mr Patrice Avrillon himself or his associate Mrs Varuna Punchoo with whom I dealt when I purchased real estate here recently and with whom my cousin dealt regarding her late mother's estate.
Address: Labama House, Sir William Newton Street, Port Louis
Tel: +230 211 0120
Email: etupavri[at]intnet.mu (note that this seems to be a general email address) I suggest you put "For the attention of Patrice Avrillon or Varuna Punchoo" in the subject line. If you don't speak French, don't worry as both speak fluent English.

With regard to your Mauritian ID and passport, that will be sufficient although you should have a Certificate of Mauritian Citizenship somewhere as you will not have been able to apply for your ID and passport without it.

Regarding your final question, no it does not matter if you wait until April to start this process. My cousin started it many years after her mother passed away.

Good luck with everything.

[at]Creativeheart. Your welcome.

I can scan and email a redacted version of the document if you think that will help? If so send me a message with your email on the messaging service.

My wife used an attorney for this procedure. I can send you the email of an attorney we are currently using on another matter who, unusually, does respond to email quite promptly. She's not too busy as she works part-time (is semi-retired) and doesn't take too many cases. Her fees seem reasonable. I'll look for her business card if you like?

I can recommend a good notary, Ashvin Dwarka. Very busy but he explains things very clearly and concisely. His office is also in Labama House, Port Louis. 

A tip is to go through lawyer's secretaries. His is Madame Joomun: 00230 208 7238. She would draft any document in any event and the notary will check it.

Wandlewed :

[at]Creativeheart. Your welcome.

I can scan and email a redacted version of the document if you think that will help? If so send me a message with your email on the messaging service.

My wife used an attorney for this procedure. I can send you the email of an attorney we are currently using on another matter who, unusually, does respond to email quite promptly. She's not too busy as she works part-time (is semi-retired) and doesn't take too many cases. Her fees seem reasonable. I'll look for her business card if you like?

I can recommend a good notary, Ashvin Dwarka. Very busy but he explains things very clearly and concisely. His office is also in Labama House, Port Louis. 

A tip is to go through lawyer's secretaries. His is Madame Joomun: 00230 208 7238. She would draft any document in any event and the notary will check it.

Thanks very much, [at]Wandlewed.

I've sent you a message and have made a note of everything you mention here. I am speaking to a team of two individuals that will draw up a sworn affidavit with two people that knew my father. If this route runs into any snags, I will contact the attorney and the notary / notary's assistant, and see what they advise. It's all a bit of a journey into the unknown, and trying to control every aspect is definitely counter productive! Esp in a country where I don't know the customs, etiquette etc.

Ideally, I would love to get all the legal paperwork (stuff which shows I am his next of kin and sole beneficiary, details of his assets, and permission to act on his behalf etc.) in order before I am in the country, so am giving myself a fighting chance of not spending months of my life there indefinitely. Hence the multi pronged approach.

Thanks and I look forward to hearing from you soon! I am bowled over by the positive and helpful responses I am getting on here. They are really putting my mind at rest.

Thanks again, everyone! :)  :top:

collisheen :

Dear Creative Heart

My notary is Etude Patrice Avrillon (The Office of Patrice Avrillon)
You can deal with Mr Patrice Avrillon himself or his associate Mrs Varuna Punchoo with whom I dealt when I purchased real estate here recently and with whom my cousin dealt regarding her late mother's estate.
Address: Labama House, Sir William Newton Street, Port Louis
Tel: +230 211 0120
Email: etupavri[at]intnet.mu (note that this seems to be a general email address) I suggest you put "For the attention of Patrice Avrillon or Varuna Punchoo" in the subject line. If you don't speak French, don't worry as both speak fluent English.

With regard to your Mauritian ID and passport, that will be sufficient although you should have a Certificate of Mauritian Citizenship somewhere as you will not have been able to apply for your ID and passport without it.

Regarding your final question, no it does not matter if you wait until April to start this process. My cousin started it many years after her mother passed away.

Good luck with everything.

Thank you very much [at]Collisheen!

The contacts are very helpful (for me as well as others reading, I'm sure) and one thing that I found very very heartening is that it shouldn't count against me too much that I am not planning on going to Mauritius until April this year. Phew!!

I wonder though, what would happen if there were still people living in my father's property(ies) - I know from many years ago that he had a tenant living in one of his houses (whether he still has the house at the time of his death, or a tenant, I don't know...), but I am sure that would complicate things.

When I have established contact with an uncle who lives in Mauritius, I will ask him to check out the state of any property/land, and then perhaps... who knows... another kind of lawyer might be required to deal with non-payment of rent, etc. I imagine "squatters' rights" is a thing there, too.

You are welcome.

I think you should try to deal with one thing at a time, which for me would be as follows:
1.  Start collecting as much documentation as you can so that you have less to do when you get here.
2. Persevere with trying to contact notaries. If you're not planning to be here until April, you have some time. At least then, if some respond, you will be able to get a feel for which one you would prefer to meet in April. It is important to establish from them what documents are required so that you can bring them with you. In the event that none respond, I would suggest you go to Labama House in Port Louis and just walk into several notaries offices and see if anyone can see you immediately. A number of notaries practices are there.
3.  Then just act on their advice, which will include how to go about serving notice to any tenants if the property is tenanted. You seem to be unsure how much real estate your father has. Again a notary (and most likely the same one) will be able to do a search with the Land Registry. With regard to pursuing for non-payment of rent, unless your father had a formal tenancy agreement drawn up between himself and the tenant, it may be difficult to prove if there is any rent outstanding. Often in Mauritius these things are more relaxed than they would be in England and it could be that your father had a very informal arrangement with a tenant who may be a family friend or friend of a friend, that he/she lives there rent-free in exchange for maintaining the property. If you are unable to prove that a formal contact exists and that there is outstanding rent, then I would recommend that you just focus on serving the appropriate notice and forget about trying to collect any rent. Imagine you are the tenant. You're suddenly told to leave, and to pay a backlog of rent! Naturally you would be quite aggrieved, which is not good, as an aggrieved tenant could start asserting his/her rights and making things difficult. Then suddenly your legal fees are double what they should be!

One final thought I'd like to leave you with. If you are fortunate enough to be the beneficiary of more than one piece of real estate from your father, consider retaining one, perhaps as a legacy from him, in the event that you may one day think about having a holiday home or even settling here. I know so many "Westernised" Mauritians who on visiting for the first time are completely charmed by what Mauritius has to offer, some to the extent that they are now making plans to return. So, always keep a door open, unless you really need the money. You just never know…

I wish you all the very best.

Hello everyone,

I wish to thank you all for your help and your sharing of information.

Can you please recommend the notary in the Mauritius Business Directory section? It might be useful for other members.

Thank You,
Best Regards,
Naomi.

Hi ,
Mes sympathies for your Dad. But to tell you the truth you must be in Mauiritius personally to deal with the deals or you might be conned . The best way to proceed is to have to go to the supreme Court, you have to make an affidavit of your late father and who will be the sucessor of his assets. Then after that  you will be able to sell all his assets .  One more thing you will have to have your National Identity card  and your father's the death certificae of your father both birth certificates . When you come to mauritius I can recommend somebody who is working in the supreme court who will be able to help you with your proceedings . Good luck

Dear Creativeheart,

First of all my sincere condolences for your father. Besides being an emotionally tough time, the passing away of close ones are often associated with the hassle of paperwork- namely those related to the estate and succession of the deceased.

I can only too much understand the plight of not yet having digested the lost of a parent and yet having to find out the way ahead to settle all the related paperwork.

I am responding to your message today "par le pur fruit du hasard" as a friend informed me she accidentally saw my name on this webpage. Indeed, I am a notary myself and saw Collisheen recommended you contact either Mr. Patrice Avrillon (in whose chambers I had my office previously) or Myself (Varuna Punchoo)!

I would be glad to help you should you still need help with the estate of your father and I believe so would Mr. Avrillon too.

Just to reassure you, almost EVERYTHING can be done without your physical presence here in Mauritius if you can easily communicate by e-mail and send relevant original documents by registered post/ DHL/ Fedex etc.. Of course, this would probably require that you appoint a proxy (Attorney or "Mandataire" in French) to act on your behalf in Mauritius.

The Power of Attorney/ Special Power of Attorney also can be signed in the UK before a Notary but will have to be Apostilled and the original sent to be deposited with a notary in Mauritius.

The first thing any notary in Mauritius will have to do with respect to your query is to effect a search at the office of the Registrar-General to know which immovable property your father held in Mauritius. As regards, Movable property, we cannot ascertain if he had any bank accounts here unless you approximately know in which commercial banks he had accounts.

Once we have ascertained that your late father did own property in Mauritius, the next mandatory step is to prepare your father's deed of Notoriety after death (commonly known in French as "affidavit de succession" or "Notoriété après Décès") which is to be signed by TWO witnesses in Mauritius who well knew the deceased and who are of aproximately his age group. This document is THE document which establishes for public administration in Mauritius who are the heirs of the deceased and thus also who are entitled to sell his assets.

You will note that his immovable assets in Mauritius will be regulated by Mauritian Succession Law and NOT english law.

To draw up this deed however, as Collisheen absolutely rightly pointed out, we do need a series of documents.

Basically, you would need to gather the following documents:-

- Death Certificate of the deceased;
- Birth Certificate, marriage certificate, divorce judgment, national identity card or passport of the deceased;
-birth certificate, marriage certificate, national identity card or passport, profession and residential address of the surviving spouse of the deceased and of ALL of his children (be it from a first marriage, second marriage, outside wedlock etc..);
-the title deed of the properties of your late father.

As Collisheen again pointed out, for persons who were born or married in Mauritius, we are authorised as Notaries to ask for their Birth, Marriage and Death Certificates at the Registrar of Civil Status. However, if for example the spouse or children were born outside Mauritius, then it will be your responsibility to gather their civil status documents.

Last thing, to answer your query about the time frame- the law provides that the deed of Notoriety after death (commonly known in French as "affidavit de succession" or "Notoriété après Décès") has to be drawn up within 3 months from the passing away of the deceased. However, the fine payable in Mauritius if this is not done within those 3 months amounts to less than Rs. 1,000 with the result that you can absolutely do everything needed now. Just don't wait 30 years as else someone may prescribe your succession rights!

Hope this has helped you and other expats looking for some preliminary information.

Good luck,

Varuna Punchoo

Malibusurfrider :

I can recommend you one of the most top notch attorneys on the island that will sort you out. If I recall, there was a similiar situation in which he came through for an expat. I need to dig it out of my files but will be glad to assist. As an American we hold our  legal dealings in a high regard- so my recommendation will certain serve you well.. Cheers- Jonathan

It is a Notary - member of the Chamber of Notaries- who is required and needed.

BTW: What does being" an American" have got to do in an inheritance settlement in Mauritius?

(1) Any person who wishes to be admitted to practise law in Mauritius shall make a written application addressed to the Chief Justice and lodged with the Registrar.(2) An application under subsection (1) shall be accompanied by evidence such as to satisfy the Chief Justice that the applicant –(a) is a citizen of Mauritius;(b) is of good character; and(c) holds the qualifications specified in section 4.

Hi I have used these people before and they are very good so I too recommend them

I can recommend Ashvin Dwarka. Very busy but he explains things very clearly and concisely. His office is also in Labama House, Port Louis. 

A tip is to go through lawyer's secretaries. Her name is Madame Joomun: 00230 208 7238. She would draft any document in any event and the notary will check it.

Thanks, this topic can be closed now. Everything has been dealt with, the estate has been sold and all funds have been transferred to me. Everything went through very smoothly once a buyer was found. The thread can be closed, thank you all.

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