If you’re looking for information on how to obtain a grant of probate, you’ve almost certainly experienced the death of someone in your life. So first things, first: Our sincere condolences.
The time following the death of a loved one is stressful enough without adding legal issues to the mix. The last thing you want to do is file paperwork or appear in court, but if you are the executor of a will, you’ll need to apply for a grant of probate before you can deal with the estate.
As this can be a complicated issue during an already sensitive time, we’ve created the following guide to help you along the way.
What Is Probate and What Is a Grant of Probate?
Probate refers to a legal process that occurs after a person has died. It provides legal recognition of their will and appoints an executor, who manages the estate and distributes assets to any beneficiaries named in the will.
Probate generally includes proving that the deceased’s will is valid; identifying and doing an inventory of the person’s property and having that property appraised; paying any necessary taxes, claims, and/or debts; and distributing what remains according to the will.
Probate involves some paperwork and court appearances. Any court costs or attorney fees are taken out of the estate.
A grant of probate is simply the legal document that gives the executor of a will the authority to administer the estate, pay any debts, and distribute remaining assets.
What Is the Probate Process?
The probate process involves four steps.
- First, a petition must be filed with the probate court to admit the will and appoint an executor. Notice of the court hearing has to be provided to all the deceased’s heirs and beneficiaries; a notice is often also published in a local newspaper in ordered to notify any creditors.
- The court appoints an executive (or administrator if no one was named in the will), who must then provide all creditors with written notice of the death. At this point, an inventory of all the estate’s property is performed. This can be done by an independent appraiser.
- The estate pays then for all funeral costs, estate expenses, taxes, and debts. The executor is responsible for determining which creditor claims are legitimate and for paying them and any other bills. If necessary, items from the estate can be sold to do this.
- Assets, property, and belongings are then distributed according to the will. The executor must first petition the court to allow them to distribute any remaining assets to the beneficiaries. This occurs after the set period allowing creditors to make claims has passed.
Need Help With Probate?
The probate process can be a complicated one, especially if you’ve never filed legal paperwork or been to court before. We’re here to help. Contact our office today for help with your probate petition.
If reading this guide has made you concerned about your own estate, you can also check out our guide on estate planning to get started.