DO I NEED PROBATE, OR LETTERS OF ADMINISTRATION?
A grant of probate is granted when the deceased held a Will and this Will is submitted to the Court. Letters of Administration are granted when someone passes away without a Will and someone close to the deceased (generally next of kin) applies to become the Administrator of the estate.
WHO PAYS FOR THE FUNERAL EXPENSES?
Funeral expenses are considered an estate expense, this means that the deceased’s bank accounts can be used to pay for the funeral expenses. However, if any other person pays for the funeral expenses, they are entitled to be reimbursed for these expenses from the estate.
WHAT IF THERE IS NO WILL?
If there is no Will, it is most common that the next of kin of the deceased will apply to the Court for Letters of Administration. The distribution of the estate would then occur in accordance with particular rules of intestacy. The rules of intestacy are a set of rules that determine exactly who will receive a benefit from the estate and in what proportions.
HOW LONG DOES PROBATE TAKE?
Obtaining a grant of probate (or letters of administration) is not the whole estate administration process. Before obtaining a grant of probate (or letters of administration) the death certificate must be obtained and information must be collected from any asset holders. An application for the grant can then be made and, when the grant is made by the Court, asset collection and distribution can be completed.
The estate administration can take between 6 – 12 months, this is generally impacted by the type of assets that need to be dealt with. For example, if property needs to be sold this can be a longer process to complete.