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12. If the deceased had a credit card debt, should the intended personal representative clear the debt first or apply for a grant of probate/letter of administration first?

It may take months or, in complicated cases, more than a year to obtain grant. Meanwhile, the interest of a credit card debt can be prohibitively high. There is no objection for the intended personal representative to repay the debt out of pocket first, and be reimbursed by the estate subsequently. This is especially so for an executor, for his duty and power comes from the will directly. The grant of probate is a proof of the will only and not itself the source of duty/power.