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CLC Guide to Probate

What is probate?

When a person dies, someone has to deal with their affairs. Probate is a legal process through which a court will grant people authority to deal with a deceased person’s property, finances and personal belongings (their assets, collectively called their “estate”). Probate is not needed if the person had no assets, or if only a small amount of money is at stake.

Otherwise, a deceased person’s estate cannot legally be dealt with and distributed without a “grant of representation” – this covers either a grant of probate (to executors named in a Will) or a grant of letters of administration (to administrators when there is no Will).

What does it involve?

Will I need a lawyer?

Although it can be possible for an executor to administer a straightforward estate a lot of people do look to use the services of a probate practitioner.

A Probate Practitioner is a person qualified in the law of succession, trusts law, relevant aspects of property law relating to inheritance and the administration of estates. They have been granted the right to apply for probate.

How long does it take?

How do I start the process?

Which documents do I need?

Your Probate Practitioner will advise you of all the documentation that you need, but as a starting point you will need:

  • The Will, if there is one
  • Details of any bank/ savings accounts held by the deceased
  • Details of any shares they may have held
  • Details of their utility accounts / mobile telephone provider
  • Title deeds to any property or land they may have owned

How do I appoint an executor?

Do I need a will?

What to do if I can’t find my will?

What to do if I can’t find someone elses Will?