Published 02 Oct 2018
Author: Richele Nelsen
When someone dies, their last known Will must be confirmed and registered with the relevant authority for that particular jurisdiction, which in NSW is the state's Supreme Court. This legal process is known as probate.
So what is a probate lawyer? How can they help with these procedures? And why shouldn't surviving loved ones perform these tasks themselves? To answer these questions, we must first look at probate in more detail.
Obtaining a grant of probate
When testators write a Will, they choose trusted executors to handle the administration of their estate after they die.
Executors must settle debts, distribute assets to beneficiaries and notify the relevant authorities of the testator's death, among other duties. Before they can proceed with these tasks, executors must apply for a grant of probate to prove they have been officially chosen to administer the estate.
Obtaining probate can be challenging and there are various legal hurdles that executors must overcome. For example, multiple Wills may exist or perhaps no one can find the original Will at all.
Furthermore, the deceased may have a complex estate, with assets spread across different states or countries. There are also time limits for the probate process, and simple mistakes on the application forms could hold up proceedings.
Why do I need a probate lawyer?
Untangling these complexities requires expert legal advice to ensure grant of probate runs smoothly. This is particularly true when executors are close friends or family members of the deceased.
The death of a loved one is a harrowing experience. In fact, the famed Holmes and Rahe Stress Scale ranks the loss of a spouse as the number one traumatic event for a person to endure.
Executors who are immediate relatives of the deceased rarely have the chance to stop and grieve themselves due to the many tasks they must undertake in the days and weeks following their loss.
But why handle the burden of these obligations alone? Skilled probate lawyers can provide the necessary assistance to alleviate the pressure involved with managing Wills and estates. They can walk you through every step of probate, while mitigating the chances of mistakes or delays due to stress or grief.
At Gerard Malouf & Partners Will Dispute Lawyers, we have decades of experience navigating our clients through the process of obtaining a grant of probate. Contact us today to find out how we can help with your Wills and estates needs.