Probate is the legal right to deal with someone’s property, money, and possessions (their ‘estate’) when they die. When someone dies owning assets in their sole name, a formal ‘grant’ will need to be obtained from the probate registry to enable the estate to be collected and distributed to the beneficiaries.

There are some situations where it is unlikely a formal grant of probate is needed, where the estate is less than £5,000, for instance, and only includes cash funds held in deposit accounts or where the assets are all held jointly between are spouse or civil partner. Under these circumstances, you would not normally need to obtain a grant of probate to access the money. Where the estate comprises of certain assets such as property, shares, or ISA’s you will always need a formal grant of probate to access the asset.

Anyone who is responsible for sorting out the affairs of someone who has died. The authority may derive from the Will, by the appointment of executors or where there is no Will the administrator obtains their authority from the actual grant. The administrator in most cases will be the person who is entitled to benefit from the estate under the rules of Intestacy.

The process of obtaining probate or administration can be very complex. Essentially there are three main stages. Firstly, the value of the estate and nature of the assets and liabilities needs to be ascertained.  Valuations may need to be done. Secondly, inheritance tax needs to be calculated, reported, and paid. Finally, the assets will need to be collected, liabilities paid, and the estate distributed to the beneficiaries.

Whoever applies for probate is responsible for correctly collecting in and properly distributing the estate of the deceased after paying all taxes and other debts due. If someone decides to stop after accepting the responsibilities of the executor or administrator before probate is complete, they may still attract some of the liabilities.

The probate process can be complex and time-consuming. Tax returns must be made based on information that is collated from the deceased’s assets and liabilities, including bank accounts, investments, pensions, and all other assets. Where an estate is taxable this must be completed within a certain time otherwise the estate will receive financial penalties. As an executor or administrator, you are personally liable for any errors. The Probate process relies on specialist legal and tax knowledge. We are a professional team of experienced Wills and probate solicitors who have the necessary experience and knowledge to ensure that all areas of probate are dealt with quickly and efficiently.

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Would you like to know more?

For help and advice, talk to a member of our team. They can advise on the best options in your matter.

Call: 01708 229 444 Email us


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