Probate is the legal process that takes place when someone dies and their estate needs to be dealt with. For example, if a person has left assets which need to be distributed or property that needs to be sold.
What is probate?
Probate is a process that gives you a court order that allows you to prove that you are the rightful administrator of an estate and gives you permission to distribute its assets. It is not always essential when someone dies, but even if it’s not required, it does allow you to deal with their property and money in a more efficient way than if you didn’t have probate.
Probate only applies if someone has died and left behind assets or property which need to be distributed after they are gone. If there are no assets, then there’s nothing left worth worrying about and probate won’t be necessary at all. Depending on what assets the deceased person owned, including bank accounts and land/property, probate may be required in order for you to sell or distribute it.
Can I get probate without a will?
If you have a will, it’s usually easier for your loved ones to get probate. If you don’t have a will, then the process is called administration. The person who takes care of your estate is called an “administrator” (without a will) an “executor” (with a will) or a “personal representative” (for either an administrator or an executor). The personal representative has to file papers with the court and prove that they are the person allowed to act on behalf of the estate.
Gathering the information you need to complete the probate application form, including making a list of assets and liabilities.
- Gather the information you need to complete the probate application form.
- Make a list of assets and liabilities: if you don’t know what they are, ask your lawyer.
- Don’t forget to include any benefits that may be payable through the deceased’s pension and life insurance.
- The intake form is a “best effort” – if there’s information that you don’t know right away, that’s okay. Write down on the form that the asset/debt/information exists but that you don’t know what it is right now. It can always be obtained later.
We hope that this post has helped you understand what probate is and the process of applying for it. Your next step should be to gather all the information you need to complete the application form, including making a list of assets and liabilities. If you’re still unsure about how to get started, please check in with your lawyer.