Understanding probate and estate planning

Probate is not a new-fangled term in the field of legal and estate planning, but many people have scant knowledge about this. Probate is the process your family members will go through with the government after your demise. In this process, your assets and finances are transferred to your chosen beneficiaries. The executor of the will be the in-charge of this process who ensures that your wishes are followed as clearly mentioned in your will. Your executor will handle your vehicles, houses, etc. that are left to them. To understand probate and estate planning in a better way, you may consult with a probate lawyer Adelaide from Evans Testa Barristers and Solicitors.

If an executor was not named in a will or a will was never named, then a court hearing will suggest the name of a relative to be the executor to accomplish the probate process in a hassle-free way. The court doesn’t choose a person randomly, often the closest living relative or the person who received the most in the will should be selected as an executor.

There are various phases within probate.

First, the executor or named administrator needs to prove the legitimacy of the will to a probate court before starting the process.

In the next step, the executor needs to provide statements of the deceased debts and assets along with the list of beneficiaries in the will. From there the creditors will be notified of this death and within 6 months, they need to collect any debts that are owed to them.

If there is any due, then it must be collected from the estate. You can’t collect money from the beneficiaries who inherit it. This means that the beneficiaries can’t inherit their money until the creditors receive their dues. Whatever is left of the estate will then be distributed to the beneficiaries.

In some cases, the probate court is not mandatory to take care of a person’s will. If a person has very few possessions and money to distribute, the court is not essential. The beneficiaries distribute the will without the law to guide them. In the case of jointly owned (for example a husband and wife), the other person will get everything by default.

Probate process

Typical process

This process is taken care of by a state court called probate court. The court will typically go through a process of swearing in the person in charge of handling your estate about your death. If you made a will, the probate process will follow the guidelines as per your will. But you didn’t make a will, then state laws will decide how your estate will be distributed.


After your demise, probate can start immediately and it will take a few months (maybe longer in case of a complicated estate) to complete. To make the probate process simple and straightforward, you should plan for your estate in advance.

When probate doesn’t apply

Life insurance policies and jointly owned assets are not covered under probate. Because those items will pass automatically to another person. Depending on the state and the particular estate of the deceased person, sometimes, the court process is not necessary. You should remember that probate doesn’t apply to property, assets and personal effects. It is not applicable for medical issues or funerary arrangements.

Many people don’t consider the act of probate when preparing their wills. Because they don’t understand how probate works. Probate should be an inevitable part of your research and you should understand it properly before writing your will. Probate can be an assiduous process for your loved ones left behind. Your probate lawyer Adelaide will help you with what you need to do to avoid probate court for your executor.

Evans Testa Barristers and Solicitors is an established law firm in Adelaide that offers divorce lawyer, probate lawyer Adelaide, criminal lawyer, defence lawyer, personal injury lawyer, and many more. Our lawyers will give you the best guidance for your estate and will help you to overcome all property-related challenges.

To know more about us and our service, please visit our official website.

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