JIS News

Minister of Justice and Attorney General, Senator Dorothy Lightbourne, has lauded the work of the Administrator General’s Department (AGD), which has made significant strides as a protector of beneficiaries of estates.
“You have truly embraced your role as the protector of beneficiaries of estates, both young and old. The welfare of our young, in particular, is of paramount importance to all who govern and one of the major functions of the Administrator General’s Department, is to safeguard the interests of minor beneficiaries and in so doing, nurture and foster their development,” she said.
The Minister was addressing the AGD’s Retirement and Long Service Awards function, in Kingston recently.
“Through your efforts over the years, you have moved from closing 300 estates in 1998 to an average of 750 in each subsequent year,” Senator Lightbourne said.
“You have administered intestate’s estates and several Charitable Trusts, some dating back to the early 1990s. You continue to manage estate funds, which are invested in Government Securities. The investments, I note, are pooled in a Common Fund, which now stands at over $1.4 billion,” she added.
The Minister also praised the AGD for its use of technology, in expediting cases on their clients’ behalf.
“In addition to the many varied skills of staff members, you have sought to use technology as a means of performing your duties more expeditiously and many of your processes are already electronised,” she pointed out, while highlighting the Department’s Trust Processor software, which assists in increasing the speed with which beneficiaries are able to obtain financial information.
According to the Minister, the AGD has attempted to address the issue of backlogged files with some 2,500 backlog cases being addressed, and the remainder to be dealt with by staff, during regular working hours.
In the meantime, the Minister is emphasising that there is a need for the Department to improve its public education output.
“I see the need for educating all sectors and persons in the society, as males make up the majority of the over 9,000 cases currently in the Department. Some 1,250 estates represent deaths caused by motor vehicle accidents, while deaths of police officers account for over 300 of the total number. You will, I note, intensify your public education drive in 2008/09 and target the various groups, entities and communities throughout the island, advancing the need for proper estate planning, which is very, very important,” she pointed out.
The AGD was established in 1873, to satisfy the need for a duly authorised officer to take charge of the property of persons, who either die intestate or without appointing an Executor or appointing an Executor, who refuses to act.

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