The passing of a family member or friend is a difficult time with much sorrow and grief. It is never an easy time in anybody’s life. The legal requirements that come with dealing with a will and an estate only make it more difficult.
Often, you will come across the term probate or grant of probate - especially if you are the appointed executor. So just what is probate? And do you need it?
This article will guide you through all there is to know about probate and what to do if you need to apply for it.
Probate is an order from the Supreme Court that confirms the validity of the deceased’s final will. A probate is usually required for banks and other financial institutions to release assets of the deceased to the beneficiaries as deemed in the will.
A probate proves the Supreme Court has recognised that:
If you are the executor of the deceased’s will and estate, and need to know exactly what is required of you, read our Role of an Executor article.
The answer to this is not always clear, so it’s best to ask a lawyer with proven experience in dealing with probate. In general, probate is needed when the owned property of the deceased was solely in their name and/or their assets are over $50,000 in value.
So that financial institutions will release these assets to be transferred over to the beneficiaries, probate is generally needed.
For those with minimal assets, or jointly owned property (who’s ownership will be transferred by way of survivorship), in most cases, probate is not needed.
The executor of the will is the person required to apply for probate from the Supreme Court. Applying for probate can be a difficult and confusing process, so it is recommended to have the help of an experienced lawyer when doing so.
The process of probate can vary depending on numerous factors, but generally it goes as follows:
Please note that this process is just a general guide and will vary from state to state. You will find more accurate details for your state below:
Again, this varies depending on the value of the deceased’s estate as well as from state to state. It’s best to check with your state probate or lawyer for costs applicable.
Yes, you can. Hiring solicitors to help with probate can become quite costly and so understandably you may wish to do this yourself to save costs.
A great tool that will help keep costs down as well as assist you in keeping track of everything involved with probate is eClosure. Their Probate Assist program will save you a lot of time and money as it assists you in everything from notification through to the Supreme Court submission. It will also do a thorough online search for any accounts that the deceased may have with numerous institutions.
You can also deal with probate completely by yourself, but as mentioned previously it always best to seek help from professionals who are experienced in probate.
If you require more information on probate please get in touch with an experienced lawyer or consult your state’s Supreme Court website, to help you get through the process.
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