What You Need to Know About Probate
Probate is a bit of a morbid topic, but it’s something that many people will have to deal with at some point in their life.
17:59 11 September 2020
When someone passes away, you or someone you know might be in charge of sorting out their possessions, property, and money, this is known as probate. In most cases, you’ll be able to sort this yourself, unless your situation is particularly difficult. If you can process this yourself, then you’ll be able to save thousands. Here we look at what probate is and how you can go about it.
What Is Probate?
When someone passes and leaves money, property, and any possessions, this is known as their estate. An estate will need to be sorted out and divided up amongst some people, this usually requires a ‘grant of representation’. The grant will prove your authority to administer the estate to those entitled to it. Who is entitled to it? That depends on if a will has been written prior to death.
If a will has been left, the executor will need to apply for a grant of probate. If there's no will, the next of kin will have to apply for a grant of letters of administration. The term ‘probate’ is generally used to refer to the application of grants and documents used to manage an estate.
Do You Always Need Probate?
It depends on a few things, including whether the assets you’re trying to divide were jointly owned, how much the value is, and whether the person that passed wrote a will. If there’s any uncertainty over anything regarding this somewhat confusing situation, there are always probate lawyers that have the knowledge and skillset to easily help you through this tough time. Having professional help in your corner will enable you to sort this stage out easily without any added stress. Not only will these professionals help with the probate side of things, but they will also help with any estate planning and any administration that needs to be completed.
When Is Probate Not Required?
Probate isn’t required when the estate is very small and simple to sort out. It also won’t matter if the estate is jointly owned. When we talk about small estates, we are usually referring to anything that’s under the amount of $5000. In regards to any jointly owned accounts, a grant isn’t needed as most companies or banks will automatically transfer the assets to the other account. However, it’s always worth checking to see if a grant is needed. A grant isn’t needed for any property that’s held jointly, they automatically transfer over.
How Long Does Probate Take?
This very much depends on if there are any complications in the process. The general time frame regarding probate is between four to eight weeks after you have applied for a grant. Once it has arrived, the amount of time it takes to complete will depend on the complexity of the estate. Generally speaking, estates including property to sell, investments, and multiple shares will take longer than those simply consisting of just money.
Probate can be a complicated thing to understand. If you’ve never done it before, it’s best to either do your research before undergoing any process or getting the help of a professional. It can be a difficult time if you were close to the person that has passed, so look after yourself throughout the process.