Dealing with Freddy's will
Pebbles and Joe, Freddy’s next-door neighbour, found a copy of Freddy’s Will in the storage box in the bottom of Freddy’s wardrobe. They were both named as executors.
Freddy made the Will five years ago and it provided for most of Freddy’s estate to be left to Pebbles with specific gifts to some of Freddy’s favourite charities.
“Pebbles,” said Joe. “What do we do now?”
“First, we need to apply for Probate. Probate is the executor’s authority to administer the estate. To get Probate we need to make an application to the Wellington High Court,” said Pebbles. “There is a specific form for the application and with it we need to send the original Will and an affidavit.”
“What’s an affidavit?” asked Joe.
“An affidavit is a statement in writing sworn before someone who has authority to administer it. For example, you can swear an affidavit before a lawyer, registrar or justice of the peace. This particular affidavit needs to contain evidence that Freddy (who made the Will) has died. The affidavit also needs to contain evidence of where Freddy was living when he died and must state that this Will is Freddy’s last Will,” said Pebbles.
“How will we know that?” asked Joe.
“Freddy has had the same lawyer for the last 20 years,” said Pebbles. “We can ask her if she knows of any other Will. We can also ask the local Law Society to conduct a Will search.”
“I’m not sure I know how to write an affidavit,” said Joe.
“That’s ok,” said Pebbles. “I’m sure Freddy’s lawyer will be happy to help.”
“What do we do next?” asked Joe.
“As executors for the estate we are personally liable for managing the estate. There are risks that come with that. Our first job as executors (after obtaining Probate) is to ascertain all of the estate’s assets and liabilities, as well as the contact details of the beneficiaries under the Will,” said Pebbles.
“Who are the beneficiaries in this Will?” asked Joe.
“There’s me, a few charities and someone called Frank,” said Pebbles.
“Who’s that?” asked Joe.
“I don’t know. I guess we will need to find out!” said Pebbles.
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