What is Probate?
Understanding How Your Estate Will Be Administered.
Probate is the legal process that establishes the validity of your will. It is the first step in the administration of your estate, and grants the executor (usually named in the will), the authority to distribute your property among your beneficiaries, according to your instructions. Under probate, changes to the administration of your estate may be prompted only by the collective agreement of the beneficiaries, or by court order.
Many people mistakenly believe that their wills are valid when they are not. Getting probate right is the critical first step to avoiding potential risks, including the possibility of challenges to your estate, and needless stress and expense for your loved ones.
What If There Is No Will?
Court Ordered Administration Of An Estate.
It is a common misconception that if you die without a valid will, the government gets your money. It doesn’t, but it does distribute your property according to a specific formula established under the Administration And Probate Act – a formula that dictates who receives what, and may bear little or no resemblance to your true wishes. In many cases, property must be sold, to the potential disadvantage of the estate and beneficiaries, in order to meet the formula’s requirements.
Without a valid will naming an executor, a family member must apply to the court for Letters of Administration, authorising them to collect and distribute your assets according to the state’s formula. If there is no family member willing or able to act as beneficiary, the court may appoint a trustee, who acts for a fee. Both situations involve time, stress, and expense, which could have been avoided with a valid will.