What is Probate and Letters of Administration?
Probate is a crucial legal step that is required before an Executor can start administering a person’s estate and distributing it to the beneficiaries. Basically, it means the court issues a document confirming a Will’s validity. It also confirms the appointment of the Executor.
This is officially called the grant of representation. There are two types of grants:
- Probate is applicable where there is a Will and
- Letter of administration is applicable where there is no Will.
A grant of representation provides a person the legal right to administer the Estate of a deceased person.
Why Do We Need a Grant of Representation?
The grant of representation gives an Executor the authority to deal with assets, such as bank accounts, shares and property. It means that the assets can be transferred to the name of the Executor, so that they can deal with them, transfer and even sell them. In absence of grant of representation, the Executor cannot distribute the assets to the beneficiaries.
Beneficiaries are the people who are left something in the Will or under the law of intestacy like property, money and belongings. The deceased person’s bank accounts will be frozen (except to pay for the funeral) until you are in possession of the grant of representation.
Probate Makes the Will Legal
The court needs evidence that the Executor listed in the Will is alive, willing and even able to carry out the tasks. It decides if the Will is the last one the deceased person prepared. Also, it confirms that there are no objections to the Will and its validation.
How Do You Apply For Probate Online?
An Executor can apply for the probate or they can ask a solicitor to do it on their behalf. There are a series of steps you need to go through to apply that includes advertising online notifying that you are applying.
Moreover, when you submit the application to the Supreme Court, you need to include the Will, death certificate of the deceased person, along with a confirmation of the Estate’s assets. You also need to include an affidavit.
Note: the affidavit is a legal document that can be used to prove to the court the Executor will administer the estate well and according to the laws.
When There’s No Will?
When a person passes away without a Will, this is referred to dying intestate. Where there’s no nominated Executor to administer the estate, in some cases, the closest next of kin may step up to take on the role as Executor and apply for letters of administration.
If no one chooses to nominate themselves to assist in the probate process, the State Trustees is a government agency that will administer your Estate on your behalf if you die without a Will. The State Trustee may be able to charge your Estate an administration fee of up to 5.5%* of the gross value of assets of your Estate in order to provide an Executor-style service.
What are Letters of Administration?
Letters of administration are the court’s approval for someone to administer the Estate of the deceased without leaving behind a Will. Usually the next of kin can apply to administer the Estate. In case there is no next of kin who can or wants to do so, company/state trustee may apply.
What Issues Come Up When Applying for Probate?
When you apply for probate, there are numerous issues you should be aware of. The person’s Will can be challenged if someone believes:
- The applicant doesn’t have the capacity to make the Will and is unable to make their own decisions.
- If the deceased was facing undue influence when they made the Will. Undue influence is when anyone convinces the other person to do something that they normally wouldn’t do.
Getting the Grant of Probate is Usually Delayed by:
- Problems with the Will, such as grant of probate not being witnessed properly or being damaged.
- An informal Will where a document listing a deceased person’s wishes that is not in accordance with having a legally recognised Will.
- Using a copy of the Will, in case the original one is misplaced.
How Long Does a Probate Take?
Being granted probate typically takes two weeks from when you apply. If more complicated information is required or if there are questions from the registrar of probate, it may take longer.
It is recommended that you apply for the probate or letters of administration as soon as possible to avoid any hassles. If you still have questions or need more information, please do not hesitate to contact us via our contact us page.