What Is the Difference Between Probate and Will?

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Losing a relative is heartbreaking and coping with the loss can be confusing. The last thing you want to do after losing a loved one is not having any idea about what they need to do and getting into a dispute about the assets.

To make things easier for the surviving loved ones there are wills and probates. They give the individual an opportunity down their wishes and make sure that surviving loved ones understand exactly what they need to do. The wills and probates are legal terms and it is important that you understand them. If you are having trouble understanding the terms then you need to look for wills and probate lawyers.

Here is a guide that will help you in understanding the difference between a Will and probate.

What Is A Will?

It is a legal document that a person can write in their lifetime. A Will allows a person to write their wishes regarding their assets and last wishes. People can leave instructions on how the assets should be divided. You can mention the names of the people you want to inherit your estate. The people’s names in the will are known as beneficiaries.

With the help of a will, you can make arrangements that will become effective in the event of your death. The person writing the Will has the power to name executors. The executors are responsible for taking care of the affairs and distribute the assets to the people you have named a beneficiary. You have to name the guardians for taking care of the assets if your children are under eighteen.

An individual can also use the Will to specific funeral preferences like mentioning the place you want to be buried.  It makes things easier for surviving relatives.

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What Is Probate?

The legal process that takes place after someone’s death is known as the probate. The purpose of the Probate is to give an individual or people legal authority to deal with the assets left behind by the deceased person. The people that get the power to deal with a deceased person’s estate are known as personal representatives.

The probate enables the representatives to access assets like property, business, pensions, bank accounts, etc. It gives them the power to:

  • Take care of the due utility bills.
  • Transfer or sell property
  • Liquidate the entire estate
  • Use the funds to pay any outstanding debts that the deceased might have left
  • Calculating and paying inheritance and income tax
  • Distribute all the assets to the beneficiaries as mentioned in the Will

Probate is not always a legal necessity in case of a death. Here are two scenarios in which there is no need for probate.

  • If the spouse of the deceased person is alive then there is no need for probate as the assets will automatically go to the surviving spouse.
  • The deceased person had a small estate.

Difference between Probate and a Will:

Probate and a Will are two different things. The Will gives the individuals to record their wishes whereas the probate gives personal representatives the power to act on the Testator’s desires and wishes.

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