You would probably rather avoid thinking about your death. But if you want to know what probate is and what it means, this doesn’t have to be a painful process.
The process itself involves organising the financial matters of someone who is deceased. If you want to know how to make this process easier for the people you leave behind, then read on.
What is probate?
Probate is the process of administering a person’s estate when they die. This includes paying off all outstanding debts and bills, closing bank accounts and savings accounts, and distributing any assets in accordance with a will, if there is one.
Who undertakes probate?
The person that administers probate is usually the executor. An executor can be nominated in the event of a person’s death in accordance with their will.
How can I make probate easier for my loved ones?
What many people fail to realise is that even if your estate is large, it doesn’t mean that probate will be a difficult process. There are things you can do to make probate easier for the people you leave behind.
1. Get your affairs in order
This is the most beneficial step you can take that will make probate easier. Don’t put this off, even if you are in good health.
Organise all of your paperwork and important documents and put them in a safe place. Remember that your relatives will also be coming to terms with their loss. Don’t make it harder for them by leaving a disorganised paper trail behind.
2. Make a will
Organising your financial affairs is all well and good, but if you want your estate to be distributed in a specific way, you will need to make a will.
Be clear about how you want your estate to be distributed. If you have a family, make sure they will be taken care of when you are gone.
As part of the will making process, you will need to appoint an executor. Choose your executor wisely. Ideally it should be someone who understands what probate means and who won’t feel intimidated by legal processes.
3. Communicate with all parties
To prevent any unwanted surprises, talk to your loved ones. Make your plans completely clear, so everyone knows where they stand.
Talk to your appointed executor. Make sure they know important information such as the location of your will and/or the solicitors involved. Take some time and go through your paperwork with your executor so they are familiar with it ahead of time.
4. Think about the fees and charges involved
Everything from ordering death certificates to organising a grant of representation when you apply for probate will cost a fee. You will need to bear this in mind when you appoint an executor.
They will be able to claim back all expenses from your estate, but make sure they are aware of the upfront costs involved.
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