Sat | Nov 17, 2018

Oran Hall | NHT treatment of orphans

Published:Sunday | November 26, 2017 | 12:00 AM

QUESTION: What does an orphan receive after a parent who used to make NHT contributions dies?

- S. Pusey

FINANCIAL ADVISER: The National Housing Trust provides for the contributions of deceased persons who used to make NHT contributions to be refunded to their beneficiaries including orphans.

In cases in which there is a valid will, which states who should get such contribution refunds, the person or persons so identified would receive the refund. If no one is specifically identified but there is a residuary clause, the person identified as the beneficiary to whom the residue of the estate should go, would receive the refund.

If there is no such clause and a beneficiary is not named, the refund would be distributed pursuant to the rules of intestacy. In such a case, the grant of probate would be used and the executor would become the trustee for the portion of the estate not covered by the will.

In the case of intestacy - in which an individual dies without making a will - and there are minors who would be entitled to a benefit from the estate, the death would have to be reported to the Administrator General's Department, the AGD. The AGD would, among other actions, 'call in' the assets of the estate of the deceased. This would include any NHT refund due to the estate and minors would be included as beneficiaries.

Generally, the agents of deceased contributors may claim refunds on behalf of the estate; there are two categories under which such claims may be made. One category includes cases in which there is a probated will or letters of administration have been granted. The other relates to cases where there is no will or letter of administration. In this case, refunds can be made for up to $50,000 with the excess being recovered from the AGD, where applicable, or through an attorney at law.

The following are required if there is a probated will or letters of administration:

- The original of the probated will or the letters of administration;

- Consent by executors in the form of a letter and valid ID;

- Verification of income letter listing NHT contributions made by the deceased;

- Claimant's proof of identity (passport, driver's licence or national ID) and TRN; and

- National Insurance Scheme, NIS, number of the deceased.

The following are required in the case of intestacy and no letters of administration but an application is being made for a refund of up to $50,000:

- Certified copy of the birth certificate of the child or other relative as proof of relationship to the deceased;

- Certified copy of the marriage certificate, where the claimant is the wife or husband of the deceased;

- Statutory declaration form where the birth certificate or passport does not show proof of relationship to the deceased;

- Declaration of Identity form where the claimant's, child's or deceased's name is spelt in different ways;

- Claimant's proof of identity, that is, passport, driver's licence or national ID, and TRN;

- Original receipt of funeral expenses;

- Original or certified copy of death certificate or physician's statement and burial certificate;

- NHT certification of contributions or employer's identification of contributions and gross salary - such verification is to state the NIS numbers of the employer and the deceased;

- NIS number of the deceased;

- Proof of relationship between the deceased and claimant; and

- Acceptance letter in which the claimant agrees to accept up to $50,000 and will seek to recover the balance through the AGD or an attorney at law.

Additionally, there would have to be the written consent of the children, siblings or relatives of the deceased, or other persons where applicable.

Applicants would also be required to complete an application form and make a declaration attesting to their age, address, the deceased having been a contributor to the NHT and being entitled to a refund, among others.

A good first step would be to satisfy yourself that the NHT does have contributions to refund to the estate of the deceased bearing in mind that the NHT generally does not refund contributions to contributors who receive loans from it as it generally applies such funds to the repayment of the principal.

- Oran A. Hall, principal author of 'The Handbook of Personal Financial Planning', offers personal financial planning advice and counsel.