What is Probate? Think of it as the legal steps to get your inheritance.
When someone dies, you’ll need to get the legal right to deal with their property, money and possessions (their ‘estate’). You cannot simply just walk into the bank and ask to withdraw the deceased’s money. Neither can you simply transfer the deceased’s property to your name.
You need to take legal steps
to lawfully get your inheritance. This is what probate lawyers do – to help the executors get a court order called a Grant of Probate
or Letters of Administration
so that the executors can collect the assets and then distribute them to the rightful beneficiaries.
To get your inheritance, you should engage a Probate Lawyer to help you apply for a ‘Grant of Probate’ (if there was a Will) or “Letters of Administration” (if there was no Will).
At PKWA Law, our team of experienced and dedicated probate lawyers, supported by a team of professional legal executives, have an extensive and varied experience in advising and obtaining Grants of Probate (where there is a will) and Letters of Administration (where there is no will).
Please read further below for further useful information on probate matters.
What happens when a person dies and leaves behind a property that belongs to him/her?
A person, known either as an ‘executor’ or an ‘administrator’, has to be appointed by the Court to take charge of the deceased person’s property (collectively known as his ‘estate’).
If there is a will that has been made by the deceased person, it will contain details of the appointment of an ‘executor’ to take charge of the estate as appointed by the deceased person.
If there is no will made by the deceased person, an appointment of a person known as an ‘administrator’ will be appointed to take charge of the estate. This administrator is usually one of the next-of-kin of the deceased.
In order for such persons to be recognised legally as the executor or administrator of the deceased person’s estate, applications have to be made for ‘Probate’ or ‘Letters of Administration’ respectively.
What does a ‘Grant of Probate’ mean?
It is a court order authorising an executor, appointed by the deceased person under his Will, to administer his estate according to the directions contained in his Will.
What are Letters of Administration?
It is a court order authorising a person(s) to administer the estate of the deceased person in accordance with the law.
Who can apply for the Grant of Probate or Letters of Administration?
Only the executor(s) named in the Will of the deceased may apply for the Grant of Probate.
- Letters of Administration
In the case of Letters of Administration, any of the deceased person’s family members is entitled to apply to be appointed as an administrator. However, the law gives priority to certain members of the family over others, depending on the marital status of the deceased person and his/her family’s composition.
For example, if the deceased person was single, his surviving parents will have the priority over his brothers and sisters to be the administrators; or if the deceased person was married with children, his spouse will have priority over the children to be the administrator.
The law also requires that at least 2 administrators be appointed where there are one or more minor beneficiaries. A ‘minor beneficiary’ refers to any person below 21 years of age who has a share in the estate. This is to protect the minor beneficiary’s interest in the estate.