"Losing a loved one is a very difficult time in someone’s life, we try to make things a little easier to deal with."
What is Probate and Estate Administration?
If you have been appointed as an executor in a Will or you are the next of kin of someone who has passed away, you may have been told you need “Probate” or a “Grant”.
Probate is the term generally used for dealing with the affairs of someone who has died whether there is a Will or not.
Probate estate administration is all of the legal, tax and administrative steps that must be taken to ensure that the deceased’s estate is administered properly, including applying to the Probate Court for a Grant. The personal representatives must be careful to ensure that they carry out every stage of the estate administration diligently so that no mistakes are made and they are not held liable for any of those mistakes.Helping you with the formalities of Estate Administration
Who can apply for Probate?
When someone dies leaving a Will then the executors appointed in the Will are responsible for administering the estate.
If someone dies without leaving a Will they are “intestate” and the Rules of Intestacy determine which surviving relative can be the administrator. Administering an intestate estate can be a little more complicated. If you are unsure how these rules apply, please contact us and we will be happy to advise you in more detail.
Whether it is an executor or an administrator dealing with the estate, they are generally called the personal representatives.
Why is Probate needed?
Probate will usually be requested by the financial institutions, such as banks, investment companies or insurers, who hold the deceased’s assets. It will always be required if the deceased had a property that needs to be sold or transferred to a beneficiary. Sometimes it is unclear if a Grant is required and a personal representative should always seek legal advice if they are unsure.
A Grant of Representation is obtained from the Probate Court as proof, that the personal representatives have been correctly identified as the persons legally entitled to deal with the deceased’s estate and receive the deceased’s assets.
Probate is obtained by:
Being named on a Grant carries significant legal responsbility, as those named on the Grant of Representation are ultimately liable for the proper administration of the estate of the deceased.
Before a personal representative can apply for the Grant, they must find out exactly what is in the estate and this will involve valuing all the assets and ascertaining the extent of the deceased’s liabilities. This can be a time consuming process, requiring lots of letter writing, completing forms, telephone calls and attending appointments. The estate administration can take a year or more to complete.
Personal Representatives duties
A personal representative has significant duties and responsibilities, including to:
Administering an estate can be a challenging and a formidable task at a difficult time, particularly for someone who has never done it before, or if the estate is complicated. Such complications could include trusts in the Will, where there are overseas assets, where the beneficiaries are unknown or where there is a dispute over the estate.
Our team of lawyers will guide you through the whole process quickly, cost effectively and sympathetically. Whether it is general advice you need, practical help with the next steps after a death, help with completing forms to obtain the Grant, or you would like us to take on whole responsibility for administering the estate, we are able to help you throughout this process.
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