Trusts are not required to go through Probate when the Grantor dies, and one cannot challenge them.
Within 30 days of the death, the custodian of the Will can either approach Will’s Executor or a Probate court. A Probate is a court-supervised procedure in which the validity and the authenticity of the Will are determined and accepted as the last wishes of the deceased. Probate is the initial step towards administering the Estate of the deceased and distributing the assets. After the appointment of the Executor through a Probate order, it confers on the Executor the legal powers to act on behalf of the deceased.
The Executor appointed by the court or the approved legal personal representative is responsible for identifying, managing, distributing and valuing all the deceased’s assets using the date of the death as the cut-off date for valuation purposes.
The list of assets that need to be assessed during a Probate may include residences, other properties, buildings or land, money in banks, building societies or ISAs, or cash in their home. It may also include stocks and shares, household and personal items, including furniture, paintings, jewelry, cars, caravans, or boats. Besides foreign assets, such as property abroad, money owed and debts, for example, wages or refunds from household bills, payments from a life insurance or a lump sum death benefit from a pension, and any other items of value may also be included in the list of assets.
The Executor will also accept creditors’ claims, pay off any debts or taxes owed by the deceased from the Estate and file the final personal income tax returns on behalf of the deceased. The inventory, its valuation, claims, debts, and estate taxes will require court authorization and permission to distribute whatever is left of the estate to the beneficiaries. Any estate taxes will fall due within nine months of the date of death.
If the deceased does not write or there is no valid Will is called Intestacy. In this process title to the property will pass on to the legal heirs according to a specific methodology. With or without a Will, the property must still go through the probate process, as the court allows others an opportunity to contest the Will.
Creditors can step in before the Probate process is finalized for a Will; its validity can be scrutinized and challenged. Anyone can also question the deceased’s mental capacity at the time of drawing the Will, answers to all of which will take time and money.