What does probate mean?
What does probate mean?
Probate is a process that we don’t usually have to think about unless somebody close to us has passed away. During such a stressful and upsetting time, it can feel a little overwhelming trying to navigate the administration that inevitably comes with the loss of a loved one. If it is your first bereavement, you may well be asking yourself ‘What does probate mean?’
Probate is a legal process.
Probate is the legal process that occurs after someone passes away to validate and administer their will. It involves the court overseeing the distribution of the deceased person’s assets and the settlement of their debts and obligations. The purpose of probate is to ensure that the deceased person’s property is transferred to the rightful beneficiaries or heirs according to their wishes as expressed in their will or, in the absence of a will, according to the laws of intestacy.
There are several steps.
The probate process typically involves several steps which include:
- Filing the petition: The first step is to file a petition with the appropriate court to initiate the probate process. This is usually done by the executor named in the will or by a close family member if there is no will.
- Validating the will: The court examines the will to determine its authenticity and validity. If any concerns or disputes arise regarding the validity of the will, the court may hold hearings or request additional evidence.
- Appointment of executor: Once the will is validated, the court appoints an executor or personal representative to administer the estate. The executor is responsible for gathering the deceased person’s assets, paying outstanding debts and taxes, and distributing the remaining assets to the beneficiaries.
- Inventory and appraisal: The executor compiles an inventory of the deceased person’s assets, which may include property, bank accounts, investments, and personal belongings. Appraisals may be required for certain assets to determine their value.
- Notification of creditors: The executor notifies creditors and potential claimants of the death and provides them with an opportunity to submit claims against the estate. Debts and taxes owed by the deceased person are paid from the estate’s assets.
- Distribution of assets: After all debts, taxes, and expenses are settled, the remaining assets are distributed to the beneficiaries according to the terms of the will or the laws of intestacy.
- Final accounting and closing: The executor prepares a final accounting of all financial transactions related to the estate and submits it to the court for approval. Once the court approves the accounting, the estate is considered settled, and the probate process is concluded.
Complex and time-consuming.
It’s worth noting that the probate process can be complex and time-consuming, especially for larger or more complicated estates. Consulting with an experienced probate solicitor can help ensure that the process is handled correctly and efficiently.
Levins’ Probate Services
Levins have an experienced Private Client team who are able to help you through the process. Our team are friendly and approachable and deal with these situations with great sensitivity and understanding. We know how important good communication is at a time like this and they will keep you updated every step of the way.
If you would like to speak to us about any of our private client services such as making a will or arranging lasting powers of attorney a well as our probate services, please do get in touch. There is lots of useful advice on the website about these services, including a clear and transparent breakdown of our probate fees.