The Caswell Franklyn Column – Robbing the Dead (II)

caswell_franklyn

Caswell Franklyn, General Secretary of Unity Workers Union

My last column entitled, Extorting fees from the dead that was published on April 23, 2017 has caused no fewer than five lawyers to say to me that I was being unfair to them.

They claimed that the process of administering small estates by the Public Trustee is unnecessarily drawn out.  As a result, they go for the speedier option of applying to the courts for Letters of Administration.  That was surprising to me since it took mere months to complete when I was the clerical officer dealing with Public Trustee matters in the 1980s.  Now I am being told that the process can take four or more years.

Their excuses simply do not cut it with me.  While I am willing to accept that a small estate might not have enough funds to bring an action, in the High Court, against the Public Trustee to force him/her to do his/her duty; those lawyers must realise that the Public Trustee is not self employed.  He/she is employed by the Judicial and Legal Service Commission.  I am therefore forced to ask: How many of them have ever made a complaint to the commission because of the Public Trustee’s unwarranted delay?  If one lawyer has ever done so and produces the proof, I will tender an unqualified apology.

I also had several calls from persons who went through some disturbing experiences while trying to gain access to the few cents that remain on their deceased relatives’ accounts.  One lady in particular told me that her husband died and left a mere $3,400 on his bank account; she went to the bank but they insisted on Letters of Administration; and thereafter she consulted a lawyer who quoted a fee of $3,000.  At that point, she gave up because it would have been too much trouble to get $400.  I assured her that all was not lost if she had paid or was responsible for the funeral bill.

Over the years, a practice has developed where banks would release enough funds to cover the funeral expenses.  In this case, the bank quite rightly refused to interfere with the account of the deceased person, without lawful authority.  Prior to the grant of administration or probate of the will, the only person who can authorise any transaction, on the account of a deceased person, is the Public Trustee.  Sections 6 and 44.(3) of the 1975 Succession Act are relevant.  Section 6 states:

“Where a person dies intestate or dies testate but leaving no executor surviving him, his  real and personal estate, until administration is granted in respect thereof, shall vest in the Public Trustee”.

(A person dies intestate if he/she dies without leaving a will).

Section 44.(3) states:

“Subject to subsection (4), in the event of the death of any person to whom any sum of money is payable by the trustee of a superannuation fund, a society, a bank, an employer of the deceased person or the Crown, it shall be lawful for the trustees of the superannuation fund, society, bank, employer or the Crown, as the case maybe, without requiring probate of the will or administration of the estate of the deceased person to be obtained, and with the consent of the Public Trustee, to pay such sum of money or any part thereof to the person who has prior entitlement to administer the estate of the deceased, for the purpose of paying the funeral, testamentary and administrative expenses, of the deceased person, or of refunding the amount of such expenses to any person who has paid them.

As the law stands now, the Public Trustee can administer small estates, up to a value of $15,000, without applying to the High Court for Letters of Administration.  There would be no need for lawyers and legal fees to deplete the funds available to the beneficiaries.  Mind you, I am of the view that the figure of $15,000 is too small to be of any real benefit to the vast major of poor people.  That figure was set 79 years ago by Rule 9.(1) of the 1938 Public Trustee Rules.

It is about time parliament resumes its mission of looking out for the most vulnerable in this country, rather than provide opportunities for lawyers to make money to the detriment of the poorest in society.  A good start would be increasing the value of small estates that can be administered by the Public Trustee.

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21 Comments on “The Caswell Franklyn Column – Robbing the Dead (II)”

  1. CUP.Violet Beckles Plantation Deeds from 1926-2017 land tax bills and no Deeds,BLPand DLP Massive land Fruad and PONZI May 7, 2017 at 3:07 AM #

    Lawyers Lawyers lawyers Ministers Ministers Ministers, What are we going to do with them?

    Vote them all out, A new Barbados needs new Blood,

    Like

  2. Shontelle R. Brathwaite May 7, 2017 at 4:55 AM #

    What it’s really about…Bajans value who we are!
    Our culture is just as robust as India’s…I never knew Indians to have a problem with it, they speak Bajan too…all Bajans do

    We are all Amerindian…our culture is equally as robust as India’s, we just aren’t as stuck up..average IQ around 140…don’t eat from anybody foreign

    Nobody cares how rich you are, what position you are in, even if it’s president of the US or European royal…throwing tantrums like a child asking for the impossible…you accept that the cosmic weather doesn’t obey you and move the fuck on… you look like an idiot in the power position, trying to overpower the color red (red-skin), hair patterns everybody knows, body shape everybody know and the existence of language spoken by millions…everybody knows you can kill people, obviously, you wanted to prove it again…nobody anywhere is anybody because you exist…ore-sama (almighty me), let me wipe out entire ethnicities sneakily because I can!

    Couldn’t even respect PHD level work…

    Like

  3. fortyacresandamule May 7, 2017 at 7:26 AM #

    Very interesting and edifying.

    Like

  4. Well Well & Consequences Observing Blogger May 7, 2017 at 7:26 AM #

    Many lawyers need real jobs instead of bottom feeding on the poor and vulnerable.

    It’s disgusting that a 1938 law is still on the statute books while 2 generations of ministers/lawyers/attorneys general have passed through or remained in the cabinet, refusing to get rid of archaic legislation that does nothing too benefit the poorest and most vulnerable in the majority population, they are useless and not doing their jobs.

    Stop giving these useless lawyers work, create contracts for joint ownership of properties and joint bank accounts with family members.

    Stop making these useless wills.

    The system was designed to rob you, stay away from the court system.

    Stay away from lawyers unless you can find a Caswell.

    Like

  5. David May 7, 2017 at 7:40 AM #

    @Caswell

    Good piece!

    We have posted blogs encouraging more education of citizens in the area of civics. An ignorant people will continue to be exploited.

    Like

  6. Caswell Franklyn May 7, 2017 at 8:17 AM #

    Thanks David. However, I am of the view that a majority of Barbadians prefer to remain in ignorance.

    Like

  7. Kammie Holder May 7, 2017 at 8:35 AM #

    @Caswell, doctors do not benefit when people are healthy. Unfortunately it seems (some) lawyers deliberately make matters acrimonious between parties to milk fees.

    Like

  8. Bush Tea May 7, 2017 at 8:47 AM #

    Doctors do not benefit when people are healthy
    Pharmacists do not benefit when people are healthy
    Lawyers do not benefit when people are lawful
    Police do not benefit when crime is zero
    Soldiers do not benefit when love is in abundance
    Firemen do not benefit when there are no fires
    Politicians do not benefit when there is transparency
    Political parties do not benefit when genuine patriots join them
    The church does not benefit when people think for themselves
    You…!!!
    We live in a world that seems to be designed to benefit ‘evil and pain’..

    But wait!!!
    …is that not what Bushie has been saying all along…?
    No wonder we built the monument.

    Like

  9. lawson May 7, 2017 at 11:49 AM #

    What tripe when there are no fires I dont get out of bed.
    a bad lawyer can drag a case out for a few years a good lawyer can drag it out even longer.

    Like

  10. Watchman May 7, 2017 at 12:21 PM #

    @Caswell Franklyn

    What you view of Barbadians who after reading you postings, try to seek your help, but you ignored, maybe that ignorance too for then to think you are genuine

    Like

  11. lawson May 7, 2017 at 3:06 PM #

    A female friend of mine didn’t know whether she should be a lawyer or a lesbian…all she knew for sure is she didn’t want to do dick

    Like

  12. D.T. May 7, 2017 at 3:33 PM #

    I suggest that you post contact information fro the public trustee office. Many people could use this service. I didn’t know of it’s existence.

    Like

  13. Gabriel May 7, 2017 at 3:54 PM #

    Caswell
    $15000.00 in 1938 is worth approximately $300,000.00 in today’s money.If that was poor people money in those days,it says a lot of which people it was to benefit.That was the well to do money class.If it is to be revisited to benefit that same class it would have to be a few million today.
    David
    My older siblings were taught Civics at Combermere School in the 40’s.I am told it was taught by Cammie Tudor.No wonder that school has a record of producing sharp vocal public commentators.
    Lawson
    The most recent publication on lawyers drawing out cases is given extensive treatment in the book of exposures entitled More Binding than Marriage–the perils of a legal partnership by Philip V Nicholls.He complains bitterly of the treatment meted out to him by a fellow named Smith.I think he said one of the cases was adjourned in 2013 to be heard again in 2018.
    Bush Tea
    I agree that Thompson was a very very clever individual.He thought well on his feet and he was devastating in repartee.I have not forgotten a TV discussion in which he totally destroyed a BLP Senator also a lawyer named Linton.I think he finished Linton that night.That Thompson was no more than 17 at the time would tell you something about his personality and ability.

    Like

  14. Caswell Franklyn May 7, 2017 at 4:35 PM #

    Watchman

    I have only ever refused to represent two people. In one case an employer, who is a personal friend of mine, sought my advice. Shortly thereafter, I was approached by one of his workers for representation. I explained the situation and told him that I could not represent him in the circumstances.

    In the other case, I was approached by a teacher from a secondary school, who was accused of having an inappropriate relationship with a student. After listening to his version of events, I refused to represent him.

    What would you have me do in either situation?

    Like

  15. Caswell Franklyn May 7, 2017 at 4:48 PM #

    D.T.

    The Public Trustee is the person who holds the post of Solicitor General. The incumbent is Ms Jennifer Edwards. The office is located at Webster’s Industrial Park, Wildey, St. Michael.

    Sent from my iPad

    Like

  16. Caswell Franklyn May 7, 2017 at 4:51 PM #

    Gabriel

    $15,000 was the upper limit set in the 1938 rules.

    Like

  17. Ali Baba May 7, 2017 at 8:22 PM #

    @CASWEL…DO U KNOW IF THE EMPLOYMENT RIGHTS TRIBRUNAL IS COMPLETELY DEAD? IT SEEM TO ME DEM PUT THE COCONUT SHAPE HEAD MAN TO STALL, EVERTYTHING

    Like

  18. Simple Simon May 7, 2017 at 11:12 PM #

    t@Caswell Franklyn “he figure of $15 000 is too small to be of any real benefit to the vast majority of poor people. That figure was set 79 years ago by Rule 9.(1) of the 1938 Public Trustee Rules. It is about time Parliament resumes its mission of looking out for the most vulnerable, rather than provide opportunities for lawyers to make money to the detriment of the poorest. A good start would be increasing the value of small estates that can be administered by the Public Trustee. ”

    Agreed.

    Like

  19. Carson C. Cadogan May 8, 2017 at 7:22 AM #

    MORNING BLP PEOPLE

    I sent a copy of this article to a Lawyer and he said to me that Caswell column was not a fair one…sensational. The process can be long… Staffing issues more than likely.

    Like

  20. Redman May 8, 2017 at 7:45 AM #

    Lawyers in Barbados are notorious for their tardiness & ineffectual laziness.
    The political class is the same.
    Casual indifference & pompous behaviour are the norm.
    These characters are entitled to their entitlements (for doing f@ck all).
    Basically these clepto degenerates should all be in jail.
    Only in Barbados could these crooks survive.
    Shameless creatures the lot of them.

    Liked by 1 person

  21. Simple Simon May 8, 2017 at 12:57 PM #

    @Carson C. Cadogan May 8, 2017 at 7:22 AM “The process can be long. Staffing issues more than likely.”

    Well if “staffing issues” are a problem, then hire more AND better poeople.

    Like

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