Benjamin Franklin once said, “…in this world nothing can be said to be certain, except death and taxes.” While President Franklin was a man of the 1700s, this statement continues to ring true to present day. The word “death”, or more specifically, the notion of one’s own demise is often met with great apprehension. For many, it is an issue they would rather put off to deal with tomorrow. However, “tomorrow” never comes for some and their loved ones are often left without a clue as to what the deceased had intended to do with his assets after his demise (also known as the “Estate”) and they have to go through immense stress and anxiety.
Most commonly, the bulk of this stress and anxiety stems from the “Hows?” and the endless “What ifs?” such as:
Thus, the stress of the unknown adds on unnecessarily to existing stress, anxiety and grief that are unavoidable when a loved one passes away.
Wouldn’t it be easier to have all this information put together beforehand?
Yes, it would, and it can be done by having a Will drawn up to state how the person making the Will (the “Testator”), intends for his assets and issues to be deal with after his passing.
A Will is not only a formal record of one’s last wishes, but also serves as assurance to the family of the individual, such that they can act on the deceased’s last wishes with the certainty in the knowledge of the Testator’s intention.
With a Will, dealing with the assets of a departed loved one is significantly more straightforward than in instances where an individual passes on without leaving a Will (“Intestate”).
This is primarily because:
These details significantly eliminate uncertainty as to who the rightful Beneficiaries and Executor(s) are, which are often cause for unnecessary disputes in cases of Intestacy. With a valid Will in place, these unnecessary disputes are easily avoided.
How do my loved ones use my Will to gain access to my assets after I am gone?
When a person passes away having left a Will, an application to the Court for a document called the Grant of Probate must be taken up. The purpose of a Grant of Probate is to have the deceased’s intentions contained in his or her Will, recognised by the Courts. This Grant of Probate then allows the Executor to deal with the assets of the deceased, as stated in his Will.
As such, the Executor named in the Will is the rightful applicant for a Grant of Probate. The Executor should also be the one appointing and instructing lawyers to make such an application on his or her behalf.
Upon the Executor successfully obtaining a Grant of Probate, the Executor can then proceed to deal with the Estate of the deceased. For example, in instances where the deceased has stated that a house he owns is to be sold, and the proceeds divided amongst the Beneficiaries, the Executor must first have a Grant of Probate in relation to the Estate of the deceased, before the relevant authorities will allow the sale to proceed. Where there are bank accounts held in the name of the deceased, the banks would also require this Grant of Probate before allowing the Executor to access the funds in the accounts of the deceased.
From the explanation above, it is immediately clear that the Grant of Probate is absolutely necessary for the administration of the assets and outstanding issues of the deceased.
At PKWA Law LLC, we have a dedicated and experienced Family Law and Probate team that is ready and able to help even in the most difficult of times.
We strive to alleviate our client’s burdens and worries in two ways:
so that they can focus on what really matters - The Present.
We recognise that each and every case is unique. Every Will that is drafted goes through great scrutiny, and the necessary measures taken to ensure that our client’s wishes are conveyed with clarity. Every application for a Grant of Probate is prepared and checked through thoroughly by our experienced team to ensure that the application process is hassle free.
Keen to discuss more? Call us at 6854 5336 / 6397 6100. We’re happy to help.
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