Probate – What does it mean?
Probate is the legal process for the fair and even distribution of a deceased person’s estate, according to their wishes. When a person dies, someone has to manage their estate, finalise their affairs, settle debts and distribute belongings, property, assets and cash to next of kin or whoever is entitled to it. There are legal obligations that must be observed before the estate can be distributed to the beneficiaries. The overall process is referred to as the administration of a deceased person’s estate. In order to take out probate the Probate Office must certify that the will is valid and that all legal, financial and tax obligations have been met. The process by which the Probate Office accepts that a will is valid is called “proving”. The executor or administrator of the estate can then distribute the estate once the will has been “proved” by the Probate Office. The Probate Office has the power to –
- Prove and condemn wills.
- Issue Grants of Probate and Administration.
- Issue citations and subpoenas.
- Make orders and rulings pursuant to the applicable legislation.
How is an estate administered?
It is possible to administer an estate yourself and engage with the Probate Office. If you intend to go down this route it is important that you understand your legal obligations. If you fail to comply with your legal obligations you leave yourself open to substantial penalties and/or legal proceedings. While the Probate Office will help you in the administration phase of the probate process at no point will they give you legal advice. You are responsible for producing and completing the appropriate documentation. Generally the executors or next of kin of the deceased will instruct a solicitor to administer the estate. At Malcomson Law we have experienced Wills & Probate solicitors. They will give you the necessary advice on succession law and taxation matters.
Please phone us at 01 8744 422 and a Client Care Executive will be happy to help you. Our Client Care Executive’s are non-lawyers with a considerable track record of helping people through the many difficult issues that can arise during the process of administrating a person’s estate.