The probate is a document issued by the court that certifies that the will is valid. This document also legally confirms the executor as the administrator of the estate.
Without a probate, the executor does not have the authority to administer the estate, and so can’t start distributing the assets according to the will.
Before an executor applies for probate, they have to do some basic investigations, such as:
- Locate the will!
- Identifying all of the deceased’s assets and liabilities
- Assessing the value of all available assets
- Finding out what asset-holding institutions (banks, for example) require before funds are released
Once the initial work has been completed, the executor then must submit an application to the Office of the Supreme Court. If the application is approved, the executor is awarded a Grant of Probate that confirms that the will maker has died, that the will is authentic, and that the executor is whom they claim to be.
All Grants of Probate are stored, along with the corresponding Will, at the Supreme Court. These are public documents.
If a deceased person does not have a Will, validation of their estate and benefactors is not done with a Grant of Probate, but with a similar document known as ‘letters of administration’.