What is Probate?

by PropertyBlawg on April 25, 2012

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Below is a guest blog post from a Canadian author explaining what probate is.

Unless you are in the legal field, you will probably not know what Probate is unless you are involved in it. However, having a basic understanding of what Probate is before you are involved in it will be beneficial so as to help you navigate your way through things.


Probate is a process that is gone through in which to validate a Last Will and Testament. The estate of the deceased must go through the Court to determine assets and liabilities and determine distribution of each.

The Process

If the estate of a deceased person needs to go through Probate, the first thing that will need to be done is to present the Last Will and Testament and any supporting documents to the Probate Court. A certificate of death will also need to be presented. Once these documents have been filed, then it will be determined if a hearing is needed or not.

If a formal hearing is needed, then you will need to prepare for this hearing by gathering the witnesses of the will and any other supporting parties. It is recommended that an attorney represent you so that you can make sure that you are navigating your way through the proceedings correctly.

If there is no hearing required, make sure that you do everything that the Court tell you to do. If you do not have legal representation, check with the Court to ensure that you have done everything correctly.

Once the estate has gone through the Probate process, the Court will rule accordingly. This will be what you need in order to execute the Last Will and Testament.

Contesting Probate

In some cases there may be parties that do not agree with the Last Will and Testament that the deceased has left. In this case, said parties may contest the will of the estate. If this happens, the process of Probate can be long and drawn out and very expensive. In this case, it will be in your best interest to hire legal representation in order to help you and those involved in upholding the will to combat the opposing party.

Things That Can Hold Up Probate

Other than contested proceedings, there are some other areas that can affect Probate proceedings. A few examples are:

– Guardianship of Minor Children – if this is not spelled out correctly in the Last Will and Testament, it could cause serious delay. The affected children could be looking at becoming Wards of the State until such time that the Court can determine who their guardian should be.
– Life Insurance Payout – if there is an issue with the life insurance policy, there could be a delay in the distribution of the estate. In order to make sure that this doesn’t happen, ensure that the policy documents are current and in order.
– Legal Claims on the Estate – there may be unknown claims on the estate that could delay the Probate process. Just be aware that there may be others who have a legal right to what is listed in the will.
– Invalid Estate Documents – a receipt of sale that is scribbled on a napkin may not be a valid document according to the Court. If you come across items like this when gathering documents, do what you can to track down the appropriate documentation.

If you are in a position to know all of the ins and outs of Probate, do your research quickly and seek legal advice so you can get through the process without a hitch. Know what you need to do and how you need to do it. Having the information you need will help you to make sure that this becomes a seamless process.

Jerry Edgars is a financial consultant and occasionally blogs for kanetix.ca where you can compare life insurance rates online. He finds Kanetix insurance rates are often better than others out there.



Property Law Blogger at PropertyBlawg
Property Blawg is a property law blog covering property law in the UK and beyond, and the post above has been published because of the high value associated with the author's work. Contact us if you'd like to get published today. Powered by YouBlawg.

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