Probate & Letters of Administration
Probate is a process that deals with the distribution of the assets of the deceased in accordance with their wishes.
When a loved one passes away, there are mainly two different routes that you can take when it comes to dealing with their possessions. Each route is a different legal process and depends on whether the deceased has made a will.
If the deceased left behind a will, you would make an application for a Grant of Probate. If the deceased did not make a will, you would make an application for a Grant of Letters of Administration.
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The reason why an application for a Grant of Probate needs to be made is so that the court can give the will legal recognition and allow the executor to deal with the assets of the deceased as instructed in his or her will. It ensures that the intentions of the deceased regarding how their assets should be distributed are respected.
The will of your loved one will state who is appointed to deal with their assets and this person is called the *“executor” if male, or the “executrix” if female. The executor is also the individual who is empowered to make an application to the court for a Grant of Probate.
How to Apply?
The process is started when the executor makes an application for a Grant of Probate with the Family Justice Courts. Such application should be made within 6 months from the deceased’s death. If an application is made after 6 months, you will need to set out the reason for the delay in the application.
You will need to have ready the original will and the original death certificate prior to filing an application. You will then need to make an appointment with a lawyer to start the process.
Deceased did not Leave a Will
If you are in a situation where the deceased did not leave a will behind, the correct route would be to apply for a Grant of Letters of Administration instead. In such cases, the court will typically grant the Letters of Administration to the deceased’s spouse and/or next-of-kin. The decision of who shall be granted the power to deal with the estate ultimately lies with the court as the court has the discretion to grant any one or more person.
What are Letters of Administration?
If no Will has been written by the deceased, then the process is for the deceased's next of kin to apply for Letters of Administration. In order to kick start this process, the next of kin of the deceased need to meet and discuss who will apply for the Letters of administration as there is a priority of persons entitled to apply for Letters of Administration and be appointed an Administrator. Attorneys Inc. can help with this process and lighten the workload for the next of kin. There is additional paperwork to be carried out in the case of applying for Letters of Administration and the process can take slightly longer than when a
applying for a Grant of Probate.