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In simple terms when a person dies it is obvious he cannot continue to manage his financial affairs and hence it is necessary for someone to be appointed and given the legal authority to wind up his matters for him. Jargon:
* person who dies is called the deceased
* the uncompleted financial matters are known as the estate
* duty to wind up their matters is called the personal representative
* the document that proves the legal authority of the personal representative is called the grant of representation to the estate.
Grants of Representation to an estate are obtained from an office of the High Court called the Probate Registry and the process of obtaining the grant is commonly called obtaining PROBATE.
Where someone dies without a Will, he is said to have died intestate. Here ‘Letter of Administration of the Estate will need to be issued.
There are 3 main stages in dealing with an estate of a person who has died:
- Collecting the information about all of the assets and debts of the deceased
- Preparing the statutory Tax Returns and the application to the Probate Registry for the legal authority to administer the state (the Grant of Probate)
- Gathering the assets, paying debts and expenses and distributing the estate to beneficiaries