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“Make A Will – Minister Chuck Appeals Montego Bay, July 22

Jamaicans are being urged to make a will to prevent family members from fighting over ‘dead leff,’ and to ease the burden on the Administrator General’s Department (AGD). 

Minister of Justice, Hon. Delroy Chuck, in making the appeal, said that the AGD, which is the entity responsible for handling the estates of persons, who die without making a will, is managing over $50 billion in property and continues to see increases of between 300 and 500 cases every year. 

“Even though they are completing just under 500 cases per year, they’re still getting a similar amount with the understanding that they have nearly 5000 files working on at any time,” he noted. 

 Minister Chuck was addressing the AGD’s ‘Securing Your Legacy’ road show at Sam Sharpe Square, Montego Bay, St. James on Friday (July 21). 

A will is a document containing instructions and wishes as to how persons want their estate, property and assets to be distributed after death. 

Minister Chuck noted that the making of a will is not “an omen” as some people believe, but rather a practical measure to provide for loved ones in the event of an unexpected situation, ensuring a smooth transfer of assets and minimising conflicts among family members. 

He said that the issue of ‘dead leff’, where individuals pass away without leaving a clear legal document detailing the distribution of their assets, often leads to disputes and violence. 

He noted the urgent need for individuals to take proactive measures to avoid such scenarios. 

“I want to emphasise to those who are listening; when a person dies without making a will, the people fight over your dead leff. Nothing creates more violence, grievances, conflicts and death than dead leff across Jamaica, with people fighting over what they never expect, what they believe they should get and what they think that the deceased person should have left for them,” Minister Chuck pointed out.  

The Minister explained that a will provides a straightforward solution to ensure one’s wishes are respected, and assets are allocated according to their desires. By explicitly stating their intentions, he pointed out, persons can spare their loved ones from legal battles and uncertainty. 

“The challenge you have, especially with persons who have children, when you don’t make a will, the children suffer for many years until the Administrator General can put together whatever is available so that it can be distributed to the children,” he pointed out. 

He said that persons should be encouraged to make wills to avoid unnecessary burdens on the State and its departments.  

He cited the example of the Jamaica Defence Force (JDF), which requires all soldiers to make a will, thereby minimising complications for their families in case of any unfortunate event. 

“It is… not to force them like the JDF because people have options… but just tell them to make a simple will. A will can be a one-page document until you acquire a whole lot of property then it can be several pages,” Minister Chuck said.