This is a post by Ellie Jo about finances.
A Grant of Probate is a term used when talking about applying for the right to deal with the affairs of someone who has died. This is gruesome stuff, but the plaster may need ripping off, and this sort of information must be covered no matter what the circumstances may be, especially in this pandemic.
This all depends on whether the deceased has left a will and where they lived. If the deceased has a will, the executor or administrator will apply for a Grant of Probate. This grant is a legal document that confirms that the executor has the authority to deal with the deceased person’s assets such as property, belongings and money. This is called administering the estate.
The executor uses the grant to show they have the right to access funds, collect and share out the deceased person’s assets and to sort out finances.
However – what happens when the deceased didn’t leave a will?
If the deceased didn’t leave a will, a close relative could apply to the probate registry to deal with the estate. In this case, they apply for a ‘Grant of Letters of Administration. If the grant is given, they are known as administrators of the estate.
There may also be terms such as ‘personal representative’ and ‘grant of representation’ thrown around. A personal representative is an executor or administration, and grant of representation is a general term used for Grants of probate and grants of letters of administration.
All of this is explanation is for nought if the actual process isn’t explained.
Here are the stages in filing for a Grant of Probate.
- Filling in an initial application; can be done electronically. If executors decide not to involve a lawyer and handle the application process on their own, it would be to turn to a Service Bureau – and there is a whole separate procedure.
- Providing Administration Oath, Support Affidavit, and Schedule of Assets. After the Court accepts the application, the executor or lawyer has fourteen days to sign and file a Supporting Affidavit and Administration Oath. An affidavit is a sworn statement in writing. An Administration Oath is basically what it says on the tin; an oath which is a binding promise where God is made the witness must be obeyed. These documents need to be signed in the presence of a commissioner or in front of a public notary.
- Court Hearing. The court appoints a date for a probate hearing after acceptance of the previous documents.
- Inquiries to financial institutions, filing supplementary affidavit and schedule of assets. Basically, if the exact scope of the deceased’s estate is unknown, the executor or the lawyer has to make inquiries to the financial institutions. If the inquiries are to be made by the lawyer, the executor shall sign a letter of authorization addressed to each financial institution. After these have been received, the executor or the lawyer should sign a Supplementary Affidavit in the Commissioner of Oath’s presence.
- Extracting the Grant of Probate. After the court has confirmed that all required documents are filed, and the estate is eligible for probate, the executor or the lawyer can request the extraction of the Grant of Probate. Before this is done, the applicant shall submit the final caveat and probate application to ensure that there are no other applications for the same estate. The Grant of Probate is sent through the electronic platform. A Paper Grant can also be requested for an additional fee, but this is rarely used.
Let’s review this. To summarize this intense and exceedingly detailed process- it’s like following a recipe; every single detail and instruction followed promises smooth sailing whenever the time comes. The Grant of Probate is provided only after the Court has all the evidence of the last will, proof that there are no contradicting claims and caveats against the grant, a comprehensive list of assets and all the affidavits signed by the respective parties.
Grant of Probate – a legal document that confirms that the executor has the authority to deal with the deceased assets.
Grant of letters of administration – a document issued that allows someone to act as the administrator or executor of an estate after someone has died.
Support Affidavit – a written statements from an individual which is sworn to be true
Schedule of Assets – a document that verifies the existence of assets.