A family member or loved one has passed. You are grieving and struggling to deal their passing. The Executor has told you that the will is now in probate and you have to wait. You knew you were named as a beneficiary in the will, so what is probate?
Probate is the legal process that all wills must go through to be proved as the true last testament of the deceased person. Before an estate can be administered, the will must pass through probate and be found by the Supreme Court to be valid. The court will then issue a grant of probate to the Executor of the will.
Up to this point, the Executor is not authorised to deal with the estate. This can be a frustrating time for all involved. As a beneficiary, you simply want what has been set aside for you in the will. Sadly, nothing you can do will rush the process. You need to be patient and let the process take its course.
To apply for probate, the Executor must confirm the death of the deceased and identify all of their assets, as confirmed by an affidavit. The affidavit is then taken to the Supreme Court together with the original will. If the Supreme Court is satisfied with the affidavit and the will, the Court will issue a grant of probate.
This process can take anywhere from a couple weeks to a couple of months. Generally, the lawyer working for the Executor can give you a fairly accurate timeframe. It’s important that you don’t get in front of yourself and make commitments before the monies come due. This can largely be determined by the accuracy of the Executor’s affidavit and whether or not there are any issues in the will itself. This is also the time when someone can choose to contest a Will.