In essential terms, probate is a document given by a Supreme Court that confirms the validity of the will. It further appoints an executor to look after the estate of the deceased.

Before applying for probate, the executor (or your solicitor) must advertise the fact that an application for probate is being made. This advertisement is usually posted on the Supreme Court’s website and must be placed at least 14 days before the probate application is lodged with the court.

An application for probate requires the preparation and filing of various documents with the court, which can be carried out by your lawyer, including:

  • a statement of assets and liabilities with appropriate valuations.
  • a certified copy of the death certificate
  • the original will
  • an affidavit from the executor setting out background information about the deceased, the will and financial position of the estate.
  • an affidavit including a copy of the advertisement required and a statement about what searches have been made to ascertain the existence of any prior grants of probate or administration in relation to the will maker’s estate.

Probate is necessary to give the executor the right and freedom to manage certain assets such as real estate and money in bank accounts. Real estate cannot be transferred unless probate is obtained (except to a surviving joint proprietor).

Most banks will not allow the will maker’s nominated representative in the will to deal with accounts that have a balance above a certain amount unless probate has been granted. It can sometimes take a considerable amount of time to receive confirmation from banks and share registries about the date of death balances and share values. This can delay the application for probate.

There are some estates that are small and do not contain real estate (for example, because it is transferred to a surviving joint proprietor) and in these cases, probate may not be required.

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If you need assistance in relation to wills and estates or would like further information in this area, please feel free to contact our team of experienced probate, wills and estates lawyers by clicking here to submit an online enquiry or by calling our office on 1300 QUINNS.

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