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What is probate and why is it important for you?

It can be tough when a loved one passes away, and while you’re busy grieving, you also need to think about settling their finances in line with their final wishes. This is where probate comes in.

What is probate?

Probate is the legal process that ensures that all the instructions set out in a will can be followed when you lose a loved one. This process involves registering the will in the Supreme Court, after which you get a ‘grant of probate’. This means that the will is officially considered to be legally valid.

When does it come in handy?

Probate may come into effect when your loved one passes away, leaving behind some assets that need to be distributed. For example, there may be money in a bank account and your loved one was the sole account holder. In this case, the financial institution may ask for a grant of probate before they will release funds. If your loved one held shares, the company or trading platform with whom the shares were held may require a grant of probate before they will release the shares.

A grant of probate is also usually required when there is property previously held by your loved one that will now need to be transferred to someone else. Probate also comes in handy if for some reason, your loved one’s will is contested.

What’s involved in the probate process?

The probate process is different for each state in Australia, and often people seek out the help of a lawyer. In general, you will need to provide the following:

  • The current, up-to-date and original will
  • Original death certificate from your state registry
  • Filled probate application
  • Proof of income or capital allocated by the will maker
  • Lodgement fee

How does Life Insurance come into the picture?

If your loved one has named you as a beneficiary in their existing Life Insurance policy, you should be easily able to access financial support when the time comes without going through probate. Any lump sum Life Insurance payout will be paid directly to you. This way, you can avoid the lengthy process of going through an executor, and you get timely financial help to manage expenses. If you need to discuss your Life Insurance policy or are unsure about how to nominate a beneficiary, I’m here to have a chat.

Any advice is general in nature only and has been prepared without considering your needs, objectives or financial situation. Before acting on it you should consider its appropriateness for you, having regard to those factors.

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