First things first – before the probate application

Written by Terry Johansson | 13th September 2013

There are some matters which must be dealt with before applying for a grant of Probate.

The original Will of the deceased must be located and examined carefully.

A Will typically appoints someone to act as executor and trustee; usually the same person acts as both.  It also names the beneficiaries who will receive a share of the estate under the Will.

Applying for Probate, dealing with the Estate, and finalising the affairs of the deceased are all the executor’s responsibility. The executor can choose to renounce his/her appointment if he/she is unable or unwilling to act.

The executor may appoint a solicitor to act on his/her behalf to obtain Probate and administer  the Estate, and has the right to do so.

This is the case even if the Will “appoints” a solicitor to act for the estate or on behalf of the executors.  This appointment is not binding on the executor and if the executor feels that another solicitor should act instead, he/she can engage an independent solicitor.  This is particularly important if the executor feels that the appointed solicitor may be biased in any way, or if he/she feels that they have been involved in inappropriate conduct.

Some issues may arise at this point in time if the deceased did not have a Will, if more than one (1) copy of the Will is found or if the Will does not comply with the requirements of a valid Will. If you have any questions similar to these, you should contact a solicitor before you proceed to apply for a grant of Probate.  Click here for more information.

For information on challenging the validity of a Will and contested probate, click here for more information

Probate may still be granted in circumstances where the Will does not meet the requirements of a valid Will, is undated, or if there is more than one copy of the Will.   However additional evidence will need to be provided in the form of affidavits to prove that the correct Will contains the genuine intention of the deceased. Probate will not be granted if this cannot be proved.  You will usually need a solicitor to help you sort these problems out.

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