Understanding Probate

We live in a time that is fast paced; we have to constantly keep track of many events. As we keep track of what matters to us, we have to remember that progress is an important element in life. Without progress, frustration sets in. Therefore, it is important that we measure our progress always. Without instruments like these, it will be difficult to measure progress.

In Estate Planning, there are various ways progress can be measured to ensure the smooth transfer of wealth from one generation to another. In the event that you get stuck, there’s an Estate Planning Expert on the Legacy Series show every Monday at 7pm on Classic FM 97.3, to offer professional advice and share insights.

Below is a case study from a listener to our Legacy Series show to provide an understanding of probate;

I have heard you mention about Probate a couple of times and I still do not understand the entire process. This has further been exacerbated by the recent event that happened to us. I am from a polygamous family; and lost my dad a year ago. True to his belief, he had a good plan and distributed his wealth via a Will. In his Will, he appointed an institution to act as Executor/Trustee, while also outlining his Beneficiaries and what each person is entitled to. When he passed on, we approached the Probate Registry and got his Will read in the presence of his lawyer and family members. Somehow, the Executor/Trustee was not present during the reading. One year down the line, we are unable to do anything regarding his Estate, despite my elder brother (his first child) managing his affairs during this period. Outside his real estate, nothing else has happened. Now we are worried and confused as we do not have access to his investments and accounts.

What is probate?
Probate is essentially the court proceedings that take place when someone passes on in order to ascertain the authenticity of a will as the valid document that is the true and last testament of the deceased. Whatever is owed to creditors and whatever taxes have to be settled is also evaluated. The probate process is done in the probate registry of a court. For the probate process, the Executor/Trustee and the beneficiaries are invited to the court for the reading of the will. After Estate Duties have been paid (in Nigeria, this is 10% of the total assets), the Grant of Probate Certificate is given. This certificate is what validates the Executor/Trustee to access all the properties of the deceased. This exercise is conducted everywhere the deceased owned assets.

What do the professionals recommend in this situation?
The Executor/Trustee has a responsibility to administer the affairs of the estate. In this case the family member will have to initial the probate process to be able to have access and legal validation over the estate of the deceased. With respect to the case study above, this is an unusual situation as all parties have to be present for the probate process to proceed.

Is it possible to avoid the probate process?
The probate process can be avoided if you have a Living Trust arrangement in place as a Trust does not go through probate. When a Trust is created, it becomes a legally recognized entity of its own.

Our quote for the week is by Ralph Sockman “What makes greatness is starting something that lives after you”

Build a legacy today. Seek professional advice from experts at FBN Trustees and secure the future of your generations. You no longer have to worry about disagreements among your family members when the time comes. Start the process today. Contact an expert at FBN Trustees and have peace of mind.

Tune into the FBN Trustees Legacy Series show air every Monday at 7:00pm on Classic 97.3FM to get expert advice on Estate Planning.

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