As the designated executor of an estate, it falls on you to pay the deceased's outstanding debts, collect assets and distribute them to those named in the will as beneficiaries. The guidance of a wills lawyer can be especially invaluable as you look to carry out these responsibilities.
A grant of probate officially recognizes you as the executor and recognizes the validity of a will, which is a crucial part of estate planning. Here are a few highlights to know.
It May Not Be Necessary After all
Whether or not you will need a grant of probate will depend on the type and value of the assets left behind by the deceased. It also depends on the policy of the third party, such as the bank that you will be dealing with in executing the will. Your wills lawyer can advise you on when one is needed and may do the due diligence by the institution on your behalf.
Still on the example of a bank, if the deceased was the sole account holder, and the money in the account does not exceed a certain amount, then the bank may not require a grant of probate. Instead, copies of the deceased's will and a death certificate may be enough.
When It Is a Must
Apart from the type and value of the assets and policy of the asset holder, another crucial factor that determines whether or not you will need a grant of probate has to do with will contests. Where the will's validity is contested, you will need to apply for a grant of probate.
It is also worth noting that persons with an interest in the estate can also file a caveat, which will prevent the court from issuing the grant of probate. Such parties will have to serve you or your probate lawyer the caveat. Your wills lawyers can help you apply to have the caveat removed.
You May Need More Than One
If the deceased had assets across the different states, and depending on the factors outlined, you may need to apply for a grant of probate in each of these states. Be advised that there are slight variations in the application process, but a seasoned probate lawyer will be familiar with each.
Writing a will and naming an executor is a big part of estate planning. As the named executor, consult and work with a qualified probate and wills lawyer on the matters of a grant of probate to be able to execute your duties.
For more information, contact a local probate law office.