What is a letter of probate

When handling a deceased’s estate, there are a few bureaucratic bottlenecks that may sometimes make settling the deceased’s estate quite stressful. One of these bottlenecks you will encounter in this situation is the letter of probate. Now, let us consider what it means and how it affects a deceased’s estate. 

Gavel and pen placed on a will

Letter of Probate

A letter of probate is a court order or document that the probate court issues to the executor of a deceased person’s estate. The document gives the executor the legal authority to control and distribute the deceased’s assets in accordance with the provisions of the will. Upon issuance of a letter of probate, the executor can proceed with probate valuation and other activities required by the law to distribute the deceased’s assets. 

Who May Apply for A Letter of Probate?

Gavel on a piece of paper

Any person appointed by the deceased in their will to execute their estate may make an application to the court, requesting a letter of probate that will allow them to do so. Now, let us imagine that the deceased did not leave a will. In that case, any qualified person that wishes to act as the personal administrator may apply for a letter of probate to control the deceased’s estate, but this is often more complicated.

In the first instance, the court issues a letter of probate to serve as proof of the executor’s legal authority. Still, in the second instance, where there is no will, the court issues a letter of administration to the personal representative of the deceased’s estate.

Applying for A Letter of Probate

probate book

Generally, an application of this nature must include certain information about the deceased and documentation of their death. The applicant must also provide the names of the deceased’s close blood relatives, heirs, and other beneficiaries of the will, with their addresses listed alongside their names. A personal representative must attach sufficient information showing that the deceased intended for them to serve in that capacity or why they are qualified to distribute the deceased’s estate.

A letter of probate is the court’s way of preventing fraud and ensuring that the person administering the deceased’s will and assets is who the deceased intended to or someone with the legal capacity to distribute the deceased’s assets. This is an area of law where conflict often arises, so it is advisable to get legal consultation for further clarifications.

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