Grant of Probate
Many people are familiar with the term probate, however they do not actually know what it means. When a person passes away and they have assets that are in their own name (for example, property, bank accounts, investments, etc.), the executor of the estate is required to get a grant of probate from the court.
The Application Process
This requires an application process and a number of steps in order to meet the legal requirements before submitting the application to court. When receiving the grant of probate from the court, you can expect to receive a certified copy of the Will with a court stamp of approval. This is provided to the third parties who control the assets, such as the property with land titles, bank accounts or investments. These require a grant to allow the executor to control and manage the assets. Once it has been provided, the executor will have the ability to close bank accounts, move the assets into an estate account, sell property, etc. Prior to receiving the grant, it is not possible to control the assets completely. However, banks will allow certain expenses to be paid out of a deceased person's account while an executor is waiting for the grant of a probate process, yet the executor themselves are unable to access the money directly. With the land titles and property, an executor cannot transfer the property out of the deceased's name to a buyer until a grant of probate is provided to the land title's office.
If there is no Will in an estate, an executor must go through a different process that is very similar to getting a grant of probate. In this case, you obtain a grant of administration and there is no Will naming an executor or beneficiaries. With regards to the executor (who in this case then is called an administrator), the law sets out who has the priority to apply. For example, if a person's spouse passed away then the surviving spouse would be the person with priority to apply to be the administrator of the estate. In that case, you obtain a grant of administration. The process from that point is fairly similar to a Will in terms of dealing with the assets, yet if there is no Will stating who the beneficiaries are, the law will largely dictate who receives the estate.
To learn more about probate, talk to one of our lawyers who specialize in Estate Planning for knowledge, experience, support and guidance.
Lesley Russell is a proud associate at CBM Lawyers LLP, specializing in Wills, Estates, Trusts and Personal Planning. Reach out to Lesley or a member of our team to learn more about getting probate. Contact Us Today!