Estates, Wills and Probate
I want to look after my family after I am gone
What do I need to know?
I’m Not Rich, Do I Need a Will?
A Will is not just a document protecting the wealthy; it serves anyone leaving possessions behind, which fall under what is called your “estate”. The Will contains your last instructions to the world on how you wish your estate to be divided. If there is no Will, the law determines how this division is done, which can create conflict between loved ones who are left behind. Drafting your Will- and updating it as needed- is essential to helping your loved ones avoid long, drawn out battles over your estate, no matter how big or small.
How Do I Figure Out My “Estate”
Your estate is everything you own from, your house and car to everyday possessions, personal items and financial accounts- even debts. Every item to your name is part of your estate, and all of it must be managed, allocated or eliminated after you die. Estate Planning is the process by which you take stock of what you own and provide the necessary instructions for its distribution. Working with an experienced attorney can make aspects of the process less overwhelming.
What Is A “Probate”?
The probate process involves the court assessing the Will to ensure it is valid and is indeed your last wishes. Once the Court approves the Will, a “Grant of Probate” is issued in the name of the Executors appointed by the Will which allows them to deal with the assets of the estate in accordance with your wishes and in the best interest of the estate. Any outstanding debts are paid from the estate and the rest is distributed according to the Will.
Where there is no Will, a “Grant of Administration” or “Letters of Administration” has to be obtained from the Court. Since there are no instructions on how the estate is to be handled, the law dictates who can apply for the Grant as well as the order of priority of the applicants (e.g. a spouse is ranked higher in priority than a child). When the Grant is issued by the Court, the “Administrator” will ensure the debts are cleared first and then transfer the remaining estate in accordance with the law. Navigating the Probate and Administration process can be daunting and time-consuming, with many considerations to face. Ensuring that you leave your estate in good order is worth the effort.
When you decide to get your affairs in order, call your team at MFG or our related entity MF&G Asset Management Limited. We are here to support you through this sensible yet sensitive process.
When you decide to
get your affairs in order,
call your team at MFG.
We are here to support you through this sensible yet sensitive process.