What is Probate?
Probate is a legal process implemented (when required) after someone dies. Probate usually works as follows:
After your death, the person(s) named as your Executor (Personal Representative) or if you die without a Will the Administrator of your Estate appointed by the Court, files papers at the Court House necessary to prove the validity of your Will, and presents the Court with details of your property, debts and particulars as to the beneficiaries that will inherit what is left in your Estate after debts, taxes and funeral costs have been paid.
The Personal Representative must find, secure and manage your assets while the Probate process is proceeding, which process may take a few months or longer depending on the nature and complexity of your Estate and the extent of the debt that needs to be dealt with.
The Personal Representative may have to decide whether or not to sell your real estate or other property in order to comply with the terms of your Will. For example: if your Will makes a number of cash gifts to individuals, however your Estate consists of valuable artwork, your collection might have to be appraised and sold to generate the cash, or if you have outstanding debts your Personal Representative may have to sell your real estate to pay those debts.
Once the Court issues a Grant of Probate or where no Will exists Letters of Administration, the Personal Representative (or Administrator) would be in a position to liquidate the assets, transfer property and deal with the beneficiaries, creditors and the taxes that need to be paid.
The Law Clinic’s experienced Lawyer(s) and Estate Legal Assistants can meet with the Personal Representative and family to advise and assist in every stage of the administration of your Estate following your death in a timely and cost efficient manner.