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Taking care of deceased estate - Probate - What is it?

When a person dies someone has to look after the assets of that person and pay the person's debt. In other words, although the person is no longer here, his / her affairs must be finalised. In many ways the burial of a person is not the final "good bye". The dispersal of the deceased's estate is the final act of the deceased's existence.

This article is about the process to finalise the deceased's affairs.

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The person to finalise the affairs is either appointed by the Will or if there is not a Will an application may be made to the Supreme Court of the A.C.T. for such an appointment.

Where a person is appointed by a will, that person is called "an executor". Where a will does not exist, "an administrator" is appointed. In this article we will refer to them collectively as 'executor'.

The other terms you should note are -

"Probate" is a Court order declaring a deceased's Will valid and that the person named in the will as the executor can finalise the deceased's affairs.

Where there is not a will, the grant by the Court is called "Letters of Administration".

We will call both the "Probate" and "Letters of Administration" as "Grants".

There are cases where a will does not effectively dispose of all the estate, but we will not deal with this aspect.

Most executors regard their appointment an honour. It is a sign of the deceased's faith and trust in the executor's integrity to carry out the deceased's wishes.

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