ESTATE & PROBATE
Grant of Probate
Dealing with the death of a loved one is overwhelming. There are so many details to think about. Unfortunately, this process is made even more complicated when you don’t have confirmation of your authority to speak on behalf of the estate.
Many people think that being the next of kin gives you this authority automatically. It does not. A Will, even if properly witnessed and signed, is only a statement of your wishes and gives you very little legal authority on its own.
The only real authority that banks, mortgage companies, land titles, etc. must accept is a Court document called a Grant of Probate. This document states that that the Court has reviewed and verified both the Will of the deceased and the value of the estate, and that you are the appropriate person named to manage the estate, pay the debts, and distribute the remaining assets.
Without a Grant of Probate, any action that you take on behalf of the estate can leave you open to personal liability.
If there is no Will, or if the Will cannot be found or verified, what you receive from the Court is called a Grant of Administration. It operates in much the same way as a Grant of Probate.