What is Probate?
Probate is the general name given to the administration of your Estate after your death.
If you die without a Will your Estate will be dealt with under the rules of Intestacy. These rules are governed by the law and therefore there is no flexibility. There are only certain people who can be your administrators and the distribution of your Estate has to follow a strict list. Your administrators may need to apply to the Court for a Grant of Letters of Administration.
If you die with a Will your Estate will be administered by your Executors. It is a much easier process and what you have provided for in your Will is what the Executors have to do. There is a modicum of flexibility in the administration. Your Executors may need to apply to the Court for a Grant of Probate.
There is however a third option and this option can occur when there is a problem with the Will itself in that either no provision has been made for Executors predeceasing you and/or beneficiaries have predeceased you with no substitute’s name.
Should this third option arise your administrators (or possibly Executors) may have to apply to the Court for a Grant of Letters of Administration with Will annexed. The parts of the Will that are valid can be dealt with as per the Will but the invalid parts will be dealt with under the Intestacy rules.
We would recommend that Wills are reviewed every 3-5 years to ensure that this third option does not arise and that any changes in circumstances have been accounted for.
Assistance with the administration of an Estate is a service we offer. We can contact all the asset holders, complete the application to the Court (you would still be required to be the named Executor/Administrator and sign the documentation) and finally close all accounts and distribute the assets accordingly all on your behalf.