Inheritance tax and inheritance law in Jamaica

Taxation Researcher | February 02, 2022

The Global Property Guide looks at inheritance from two angles: taxation, and what inheritance laws apply to foreigners leaving property in Jamaica: what restrictions there are and whether making a will is advisable.


How high are inheritance taxes in Jamaica?

Inheritance is not taxed in Jamaica but transfers of properties are subject to tax.
Properties can be transferred in two ways: inter vivos (in life) transfers and mortis causa (after death) transfers.

For transfers after death, the taxable inheritance is the market value of the estate less funeral expenses, estate administration expenses, and debts related to the property up to a maximum of 5% the property value.


Up to 100,000 (US$8,163) 0%
Over 100,000 (US$8,163) 7.5% on all value over US$8,163

For inter vivos (in life) transfers or gifts, the tax rate is a flat 7.5%. When the transfer is between related people, the tax is imposed on the property´s market value.

The process of releasing inheritance is regulated by the Government of Jamaica. Until all the paperwork has been done and government duties paid, no property or other assets are released. The entire process takes about 18 months or longer.


What inheritance laws apply in Jamaica?

Jamaican laws apply to the inheritance of real estate in Jamaica.

The principal laws applying to inheritance issues in Jamaica are:

  • The Probate of Deeds Act, which outlines the requirements for proving wills.
  • The Wills Act, which states the rules regarding making wills, determining the validity of wills, and the varia    


JRussell | April 12, 2010

I'm asking the same if the a person dies and is the named title, and does not have a will, does the land go to the next of kin? or does it become the person that is now paying the land tax?

Mr Bryan | April 18, 2010

Please could you provide response to the above question which I too am interested in knowing about.


J.O, Case | July 13, 2010

Read from Jamaican law includes rules of testate succession above. Intestacy refers to a person who dies without a will.

MISS BENNETT | August 04, 2010

what if the will that was lift is invalid, what rights do i have as one of two surviving child. and what would be the procedures to follow.

CARL ROSE | August 15, 2010

Hi, My grandmother passed away in Jamaica in December and we are told that she had an estate in Jamaica. How do I find out and see if I am due to Inherate from this. My grandad passed away some years ago and so did my father, her son.many thanks.

beverley duncan | August 18, 2010

my mum passed away in jamaica in 2007 she maide a will in 1987 at that time she was in sound mind but in 2005 my brother made a will for my mum saying that everthing belonged to him the 2005 will was made without my mumknowing so what is your advise

Michael Taylor | October 01, 2010

My wires mum passed away recently in Jamaica.her father died some years ago.she is the only child of them & lives in the uk.a nephew of her father who lives in the America is scheming to get the can my wife obtain a copy of the will & what is she advised to do?

Marie S. Wray Attorney-at-Law | February 18, 2011

Response to Michael Taylor's question- She must find out who is keeping the Will, and request a copy. If the request isn’t met, she could get herself an Attorney to request a copy of the Will on her behalf. It would also be wise to lodge a caveat against the property (to protect her interest) so that she will be immediately informed of any dealings with the property.

Marie S. Wray Attorney-at-Law | February 21, 2011

Response to JRUSSELL: Yes, the law says that the land will go to the next of kin (otherwise known as the beneficiary) and it also states what portion each person gets as well. With respect to your second question, paying land taxes does not automatically make you the land owner; you must be able to show how you came to own the land. Remember that anyone can pay the taxes for a property, once they have the details of the property.
Think about this: You live abroad but own property in Jamaica. You asked your brother to pay the taxes for you because you’ve been made redundant. Would it be fair to say that he can claim ownership to your property because he had been paying the taxes for a few years? I think not.

Response to MISS BENNETT: If the Will was found to be invalid, then the person has died intestate. According to law, as one of the surviving children, you would be entitled to a part of the Estate. In this case, you would have to apply to the Court for Letters of Administration so that the property can be shared up and distributed among all those who are entitled to a share. You would most definitely need the services of an Attorney to explain (in detail) the procedure, and your responsibilities.

Response to CARL ROSE: First, you need to find out if she left a Will, and if she did, whether you were named in that Will. The result of your investigation will determine where you go from here.

Response to BEVERLEY DUNCAN: If your information is correct, your mum’s 1987 Will is the one that stands. If your mum’s true wishes are to be carried out, the Will made by your brother, must be contested in Court (meaning that you must ask the Court to declare that the 2005 Will is invalid).You will need legal advice on how to proceed with this.

Response to CARLENE GRANT: (As explained above) When a person dies without a Will, he is said to have died intestate. If at the time of his death, the deceased person owned property, someone (usually a family member) must apply to the Court for permission to deal with the deceased’s Estate (what he owned when he died). The Court will then grant what is called Letters of Administration. This is a legal document which permits the person who made the application, to share up, and distribute the property according to how the law says it should be done. Until the Court grants this permission, no one can lawfully use, or deal with a Registered Title which is in the sole name of the deceased.
The issue of occupying someone else’s land and paying taxes for a number of years, and then applying for Title is another issue altogether, and cannot be fully dealt with on this forum. I must point out though, that paying the land taxes does not automatically make you the owner of a property.

Melody Anne | November 24, 2011

Myself and my sister are located in Toronto Canada and have been here since childhood. Our father has always remained in Jamaica. He died in March of 2010 and my mother tells me that according to Jamaican law,even though he has other children, as the only two children that were born within the marriage with their mother we are the legitimate heirs. Is this true? My half brother suddenly cut off communication with me which has made me suspicious.

Andrea Davies | February 16, 2012

Talk about taxes in here, I read in an article that Married people’s taxes are treated just a little differently by the Internal Revenue Service, as the couple is considered a unit. However, they have the option of filing separately or jointly, and both choices have specific advantages and disadvantages. Resource for this article: Newlyweds of 2011 have to weigh filing individually or jointly

Chris-Chris | March 16, 2012

My mother passed away earlier this year without any known will. She owned a house with her husband in Jamaica but a few years ago her name was taken off the title and she found out along the way so the house is solely in her husband's name. Does the law allow entitle any of her children to inherit any portion of this immoveable property as these children are not his. Basically I want to know what is the law regarding this immovable as far as children of the deceased are concerned.

Louise | April 24, 2012

My father passed away in 2010. I am his only child. My father lived in the UK since the 1940's. His sister stayed in Jamaica and has one child (his niece who now lives in USA). She informed me that my fathers name is on the Tennent In Common paper her mother (my fathers sister) has in Jamaica. My fathers niece has informed me that I need to take my fathers name off and replace it with hers, as she says it is her mothers property. I know my father sent money over to my aunty my whole life and I also believe that the land was bought with the money that came from the sale of my grandparents home which I believe was left to my father and his sister. I don't feel comfortable about signing anything over to my dads niece, especially as she won't send me a copy of the papers she wants me to take my fathers name off. If it is a Tennent In Common paper, how long do I have to change my fathers name (he passed away two years ago). If it is the Land Title (which my fathers niece then tried to say it was), how long do I have to change my fathers name? Many thanks in advance.

Kamela Pitter | August 31, 2012

My aunt who lived in England died last year and left assets in that country and a house in Jamaica. She did not have any children and she was not married. Does the British government have the right to decide who get the house in Jamaica?

diane | September 09, 2012

My Father who currently lives in the uk wants any inheritance that his parent's have left to him to go to his children.His parents passed away some years back but his sister who is the executor to the will won't give him any information.
She has said that the estate has been taken over by the administrator.My father has sinced written a letter to the lawyer that is dealing with the estate and has given him instructions to who he wants any inheritance that he gets to go to his children.He had witnesses present and they both signed the will/ letter.
Please can you let me know if this testomony will be able to stand in jamaica or is the law different?

JCME | November 11, 2012

My ex-husband was left property in his grandfathers will. He is not of sound mind & his father was his guardian. Now the father has recently passed away. My ex & I had two children, who he never supported, & were raised in the US. I am now afraid that my ex's half brother will claim guardianship & try to take control of the property, which should rightly go to my children & grandson. Can you please advise what to do to ensure that my children & grandson get their rightful inheritance? Thank you.

JCME | December 11, 2012

Any chance my query will be addressed? I'm pretty sure my children will need a lawyer but it would be nice to have an answer. Thank you again.

amanda brown | January 26, 2013

my god-mother and i went to a lawyer and had a power of attorney made for her and a will.the lawyer never registered the power of attorney document until 3 years after it was made. fortunate for me she never needed it.she is now dead and iwent and informed him and he cannot find a signed will for her. he can only find the draft of the will she made. i was the executor of the will.what do i do now? she was a spinster and neverhad any children, her mother and father are dead. . but she has a "half" sister that lives in the USA. but they were never close.she was 85 when she died

Rohan | March 17, 2013

I have an issue, my Grandmother passed away in 1980, leaving a house that we all lived in. There was a will BUT no one can find this Will, we would like to sell that house now, but was told we need to pay up some death tax since she died. How much is this death tax? I was told that it 1s a % of the value of the property after the 1st year she she died. The property was valued JM$3.5M as of Nov 2010. We are just wanting to see how much this tax would be so we can start paying it up so we can do what needs to be done t have it sold. Property tax is paid every year, any help would be grateful!

missy | April 08, 2013

my father who lived in uk purchased land in jamica he put my brothers name on the title along with his sadly my father passed away he fell out with my brother and we think he forgot to take his name off the title,my father verbally instructed his sister(my aunt) to carry out his wishes but she was unaware that my brothers name was on the title my fathers family have been paying the land taxes for years are they entitled to the land or does it belong to my brother.We all reside in uk

earle wright | May 05, 2013

My mother died in Jamaica in 1992.Hearsay is that she left a will but no one has seen it including the person who was stated to be the executor.One has to assume she died intestate
My oldest brother lived in the house till he died 1 month ago He also cultivated several acres of land that she owned- he left no will and had no wife or children.My other brother died 2 years ago so I am next of kin A nephew who lives in Jamaica states it will take "several years " to sort this out If I get a lawyer why should it take years to settle this

Del Haughton | July 29, 2015

My wife and I hold duel citizenship for both the UK and Jamaica. We have a home in both countries which is jointly owned.Is it advisable to make two separate wills - one which covers our 'estate'in Jamaica and the other for'estate' in the UK.I am given to understand that by lumping everything together in one will can create serious problems and protracted delays. Best advice will be greatly appreciated.

Mr ANTHONY ROWE | September 05, 2015

hi,my father has just died here in england,he was jamaican and has a house and land in jamaica.he did not leave a will.i am his son.i have all the house papers and title' coming to jamaica for a week on 17/9/15.what do i need to do to get the house papers in my name.and how much pounds will this cost me to do.the house is worth around £30,000 and the land another £10,000.thank you for your help.will i also need a solicitor to do all this and how much will that cost me.thanks.tony

jodie Simms | May 10, 2016

My husbands father died in Jamaica 3 years ago and left a property, he was married at the time and didn't leave a will.
the wife/widow of my dad who is also in Jamaica has changed the locks on the property and is renting it out she will not give my husband access .......does he have any rights to the property as he is the eldest son?, the property was originally inherited to his dad from the grandfather it is a family property that should remain in the family.we currently reside in the uk and have just returned from a visit it was horrible my husband not being able to go in his home
thank you

karl lopez | July 18, 2017

I need info. instead of a comment. My mother has lived in Jamaica for over 25 yrs. She and her husband purchase a house and property and he passed away.She then lived in common law with a man and raised his kidswho are not hers. My mother recently passed away. Ian her only child and I live in Florida,USA. What is my entitlement as her son and what entitlement does this guy has as her common law spouse? They were never married. Your response greatly appreciated. Thank you.

Thiago Davis | November 29, 2017

I need some serious advice as I live in the UK and this matter is in Jamaica. My parents wrote a Will. My mother passed away in 2014 followed by father in 2015. In the Will it states that the Estate goes to my brother and myself. Here is the tricky part. For years, when my mother was alive she always stated that she wanted to be buried on her parents estate next to her parents. She passed and her wish were granted. 2015 my father passed away and was supposed to be buried next to his wife. There was a dispute between my brother and my Uncle. My uncle owns his parents house as he became the beneficiary of the estate when his parents passed away. Due to this dispute that my brother had with my uncle my brother took it upon himself to get my mother exhumed as my father was now going to be buried on his own estate. My mother was exhumed and buried next to my father. Now a few years has passed and my my brother is telling me that he wants me to sell the house when the probate is completed. Also in another response he has indicated that he has contacted the executor (which happens to be my uncle) stating, ’Mother leaves you in charge to oversee the estate and to make sure that all matters completed according to her instructions in the will, to the best of your ability, that stands and will not change.

What I am referring to is; is for you and Thiago to make necessary decisions, fulfil questions regarding the property and its contents, he has all the important documents relating to the estate, ( property contents itemisations, Will, Property registration documents etc. ) therefore please contact him should you require them in the future. Saying that, most of these documents, at least a copy of them should by now be in the solicitor’s care.

My only request/demand is; if to the end, the estate need to be sold, my parents is not for sale, therefore a wall surrounding the grave with access from the road will need erecting before the commencement of any such sale.

I hope this will clear any missed understanding or ambiguity.’

I am shocked that my brother is acting in such a way like he’s the one with the broad shoulders above me and also my uncle who’s the executor.

I need some advice and directions on how to deal with this serious matter. Thanks

David Hodge-Andrews | April 07, 2018

Good Morning,

My Name is David Hodge-Andrews and respectfully seek information to transfer deed from the deceased to the living by ways of inheritance.

We have a will for property that was left to by Great Grand father, however after his children passing, there is no will stating beneficiaries. The current bloodline want to righteously procure land based on genealogy inheritance. The following documents are in our possession at this time is:

1. Tax valuation number stating the current owner which is my great grand mother deceased
2. Will from great grandfather passing the property down to great grandmother and his children. Please note, unfortunately both great grand parents are deceased and their children.
3. We have the birth certificates proving genealogy from great grand parents to the current blood line.

We would like to also mention all tax payments are up to date. At this point we are requesting an understand of the following:

a. What else is needed to transfer deed to addition what was stated above?

Currently we are in the U.S. and would like to learn as much information before our next trip back home to Jamaica. Any information provided will be very helpful and utmost grateful.

Conrado Ploche | May 27, 2020

Good evening. My great great grandmother left a Will which is in the REGISTRAR in Kingston, Jamaica. I live in Panama and last year I went to Kingston and got a copy of it She left some property to my great grandfather and I know for a fact that he didnt received it because he was abroad in Costa Rica and died just three months after her mother. Is it possible for me to claim the inheritance? This was in 1918! Thanks in advance for your prompt response.

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