Grants of Probate
If someone you love has died, you may want, or need, to get probate for them.
What is probate?
Probate is court recognition that you are the approved executor or administrator for the deceased’s estate.
The process involves getting a grant from the court – these grants have several names. Now they are now called a representation grant, but they used to be called a grant of probate (if the deceased left a Will and you are a named executor), or a grant of letters of administration with Will annexed (if you are not a named executor, and the named executors are unable to perform their duty), or a grant of letters of administration without Will annexed (if there is no Will).
This grant is an important document – it gives you, as the deceased’s executor or administrator (now called a “representative“) the right (and the duty) to deal with the deceased’s estate.
It also starts some important clocks running – these clocks represent timeframes by which certain things need to be done. As one simple example, certain people have a right to make a claim against the estate, but those rights end 180 days after the date the Grant has issued.
Why would I need probate?
You don’t always need a grant of probate.
You might be required to obtain a grant of probate by the deceased’s asset-holders. For example, a bank might want to see a grant before they will allow you to deal with the deceased’s bank accounts. If the deceased had a car or land, a grant would be necessary to transmit or sell those assets.
If the deceased owned all of their assets in true joint tenancies with another person, then those assets will likely pass to the surviving joint tenant, without a grant. The important part here, though is the joint tenancies must be “true” joint tenancies – there must have been an intention for the owners to have had unfettered rights of survivorship.
If the deceased had designated beneficiaries on any of their assets, then those assets would go to those designated beneficiaries without a grant.
What about probate fees?
Probate fees are required to be paid to the court to receive a grant of probate, and are on top of any fees for a lawyer to assist with the filing. Probate fees are calculated at $200 plus 0.6% of the value of the estate between $25,000 and $50,000, and 1.4% of the amount over $50,000. What is in the estate depends on how the decreased owned their assets. Assets held in a trust or in joint tenancy typically won’t count.
How long does it take to get a grant of probate?
It depends on how much has already been done by the executor. Performing a wills search, gathering bank statements and other assets info will make it quicker to apply for the grant. After that point, the court may take time to give the grant, depending on any court backlogs. A total time may be anywhere from 3-12 months.
If you are relying on the grant of probate for the sale of a property of the deceased, we can help you perform an “escrow closing” if need be to ensure things work out smoothly with any purchaser.
Can I get a grant myself?
Yes, you can apply for a grant on your own, or you can hire one of our lawyers to assist you with the process.
Call us for an estimate for obtaining a grant in your situation.