Probate in general terms, is the process of applying to the Courts for a grant allowing the executor of the estate to process the transfer of assets of the deceased. Probate will usually advance in one of the following two ways;
- Testate / Valid Will: A person is said to die testate, where they have left a valid will which may be executed on behalf of their estate. In the case of someone dying testate, a Grant of Probate is requested from the courts. This allows the executor of the estate to carry out the wishes of the deceased as per their will.
- Intestate / No Valid Will: When a person has passed and left no will, or an invalid will, they are said to be intestate. An estate may also be in partial intestacy where part of a will is invalid. An application will be made to the court requesting Letters of Administration, much like the Grant of Probate, Letters of Administration will allow the administrator to process the estate of the deceased, usually dividing the estate in equal parts among legally dictated beneficiaries.
The process of applying for either a Grant of Probate or Letters of Administration varies in time depending on where the application must be made. As of July 2014 in Dublin, it takes approximately 10-12 weeks for the application to be processed by the Probate Office. The process is expedited by proper execution of the documents necessary for the application, ensuring that there are no mistakes to be found later in the process, thus preventing delay of the distribution of the estate.