Probate is a legal document issued by the Supreme Court that confirms the validity of a will once a person dies. Once probate has been granted, the executor of the will is entitled to administer the estate and handle any assets or debts that the person left behind. If the executor is unable or unwilling to apply for probate, a beneficiary can apply to the Supreme Court and take on this responsibility.
Probate is usually required when there are significant assets in the deceased person’s name, such as property or a bank account with a balance of more than $20,000. These assets can’t be released to the executor without a Grant of Probate by the Supreme Court.
Probate may not be required in smaller estates, where the executor or next of kin can sign an indemnity form to release the assets. Assets that are jointly- held are usually transferred to the surviving joint asset holder, but there is often paperwork required to legally transfer ownership of the asset.
If there is no will, a ‘letters of administration’ document may need to be issued by the Supreme Court. This confirms the identity of the legal personal representative who will administer the estate and any beneficiaries of the estate.
If you need assistance in securing probate for a family member or friend, our legal team can help guide you every step of the way.