14th JULY 2022
Probate refers to the process by which your estate is divided up and distributed to your beneficiaries following your death. Probate can be a stressful process and a heavy burden to place on a loved one. For this reason, many people wonder if there is a way that they can administer their own estate before they die.
The short answer to this question is no; there is no way of administering your estate before your death as a grant of probate cannot be acquired without a valid death certificate. However, there are some ways that you can lessen the burden of probate and make it far easier for your loved ones to handle.
Can I handle probate before I die?
It is not possible to handle probate before you die.
In order to administer an estate, you will need to apply for a grant of probate from the Registry Office. This application will not be approved unless you are the named executor of the deceased’s Will and you have a legal death certificate.
Therefore, you cannot acquire a grant of probate to begin the process before you die. However, there are several things you can do to help.
What can I do about probate before I die?
If you want to make the probate process easier for your loved ones, there are several things you can do.
First, you should absolutely write a Will. Without a Will, the law decides who inherits your estate by ranking your relatives in order of closeness. If you have specific wishes about who your assets are left to, you must make this clear in a legal Will.
When writing your Will, you will be encouraged to name an executor. This is the person who is responsible for administering your estate through probate after you die. Most people name a close relative or friend to take on this role, but you can also elect a solicitor or a professional probate service as your executor. The benefits of choosing a legal representative to handle probate are that you can rest assured the process will be handled properly, and you can take the burden of probate off your loved ones. If you choose to hire a service for this role, the funds to pay for this service will be taken from your estate, so it is worth asking your beneficiaries what they think.
If you choose to name a loved one as executor, you should let them know so that it does not come as a shock after your death. This will give them plenty of time to look into the probate process so that they can handle it in a timely manner. There are plenty of free probate guides on our website that your executor might find useful.
Finally, you should write an inventory of all assets and liabilities belonging to your estate. This will be a huge help for your executor when it comes to distributing your estate, as they won’t need to spend weeks locating and taking stock of your assets themselves and they can get on with administering your estate far more quickly.