When somebody dies, his or her will should be read to ensure that you understand the will maker’s intent. The people named in the will as executors then apply to the High Court for a probate order confirming the will and giving them authority to deal with the estate. If the estate is small then probate may not be required and the pros and cons of this scenario should be discussed with your solicitor.
If however, you die without a will or your will is deemed to be ineffective, then you are said to have died intestate. In this event, legislation applies and application needs to be made to the High Court for letters of administration. Under these circumstances, legislation governs who is entitled to benefit from the estate. This could result in the deceased’s wishes not being fulfilled. Dying intestate can be costly.
Executor or Trustee of a Will
If a Last Will and Testament exists, it will refer to the Executor. This is a legal term referring to a person named or nominated by the will maker, to carry out the directions of the will. You will be required to be guided by tax laws, inheritance laws, property law, court procedures and naturally the demands of the beneficiaries. You are held accountable for carrying out your role properly.
A solicitor is there to assist you with your duties and to protect you in this role.
Estate administration often involves delays but the majority of estates are administered in an effective and timely fashion.