Probate is official recognition by the Court that your Will is valid. In making your Will you be asked to nominate one or more individuals to act as your Executor in the event of your death. The Executor assumes responsibility for distributing your estate in accordance with your wishes as expressed in the terms of your Will.
Under the terms of your Will the Executor has power to settle your affairs and to distribute your assets and personal items of value according to your wishes as you have set out in your Will. Your Executor must fulfil all legal obligations, including finalising tax and other financial obligations, before distributing the remaining assets amongst your nominated beneficiaries. Your Executor has has a duty to act in the best interests of your intended beneficiaries at all times.
Should you die without a valid Will you are said to die “intestate”.
In these circumstances, the Court issues a grant of Letters of Administration other then a grant of Probate and appoints an Administrator, usually your next of kin, rather than an Executor. Sometimes a person may die partly testate and partly intestate. This occurs where only part of their Will is valid, while other parts of the Will fail due to poor drafting or where the legal rules of construction have not been followed.
Your Administrator will be required to distribute your estate amongst all of the valid beneficiaries according to the provisions set out under current legislation. This can be an expensive and time-consuming task. Further, some of your assest may be distributed to those whom you did not intend to receive gifts from your estate. While some of your assets may pass directly, generally speaking, your assets are frozen until an Administrator is appointed by the Court. All in all, this can sometimes be a lengthy, costly and distressing process.
Get in touch with us today for your complimentary initial consultation if you wish to discuss a legal matter. Call us on 02. 8006 7396. Or request a call back.