Probate is a legal process which involves the right to deal with the affairs of a deceased person. It is often referred to as 'administrating the estate'. Different processes will be applied, depending on whether the deceased died with or without a will.
If there is a will, the solicitor will check to see whether an executor has been appointed. If so, the executor should be advised of that fact and given an opportunity to decide whether he/she wishes to act as such and whether he/she wishes to act personally or to appoint a solicitor to act for him/her.
If there is no will or no appointment of a person able and willing to act as an executor, then the estate will be administered by an administrator.
The solicitor will check with you the following matters after he is informed of the death of the deceased:
You are advised not to throw away any personal papers relevant to the estate, such as bank statements, receipts for medical expenses, income tax returns, business accounts, etc.
If no will has been found and there is no evidence of indication of a will to put the adviser on enquiry, it is assumed that the deceased died intestate (without a will).
When a person dies intestate, all of the intestate property is vested in the personal representatives.
When writing a will it is important to remember to update it regularly. It is good practice and of vital importance that one updates their will. This is because circumstances may change, you could meet new people in your life or there may be new additions within the family that you may have forgotten about. If you die without having amended your will, your estate may be administered in a way that is against your wishes. In order to avoid further complications for your family during a time of bereavement, it is best to plan ahead.