What is Probate and is it always necessary?
Probate is a document obtained from court after someone has died which names the people who have the right to deal with the deceased's property and financial affairs. There is a slightly different procedure for dealing with this depending on whether the deceased left a Will or not, but broadly speaking the principles are the same.
It is not always necessary to obtain Probate when someone dies - it depends on what they owned. If everything the deceased owned was held in joint names with their spouse and they are the sole beneficiary, the assets will automatically pass to the surviving spouse without the need for Probate to be obtained. Or, if the deceased had assets of a low value, a bank will sometimes pay out the funds to the appropriate people without requiring Probate. However, Probate will always be needed if the deceased owned a property in their sole name or had substantial assets, in which case administration can be complex.