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Probate 101: What is it?

When a loved one or someone close to you passes away, certain legal steps must be taken before the estate can be distributed.

What is probate?

Also known as a grant of probate or grant of representation, is a process that is sometimes required to confirm that the deceased's Will is valid, and therefore allowing the Executor to be appointed to distribute the estate.

Note: Each state and territory has a slightly different process, so it is important to check these requirements as needed.

Why do you need it?

Probate gives the Executor the legal authority to deal with the deceased assets. This includes things such as bank accounts, property or shares that need to be distributed to the beneficiaries stated in the Will.

Often there is a threshold of 'value' that must be reached to require probate. For example, if the deceased may have left money in a sole bank account, the bank may require a grant of probate to release the funds for distribution by the Executor. Similarly, if they owned shares, the trading platform may require probate to transfer ownership.

For smaller assets, a death certificate or Will may be sufficient, how it is crucial to check the requirements for each state and governing body.

What if there is no legal Will?

If there is no legal Will, it is not possible to apply for probate. In this situation, a process called 'Letters of Administration' applies where the Court will appoint an administrator.

Disclaimer: The content of this blog is intended to provide a general guide to the subject matter. This blog should not be relied upon as legal, financial, accounting or tax advice

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