What is Probate?
A guide to Probate and how we can help you
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What is Probate?
In simple terms Probate is a document which gives the legal authority to manage the estate of a person who has passed away. The dictionary defines probate as the official proving of a Will, however nowadays probate is referred to as the process of dealing with someone’s estate after they have died.
The Grant of Probate is applied for by the executors named in the deceased’s Will or the person with the authority under the rules of intestacy when someone dies without a will.
An executor is responsible for all legal and financial responsibilities within the estate as follows:
- Securing any property owned by the deceased and ensuring there is adequate insurance in place
- Completing a schedule of all assets held in the name of the deceased
- Obtaining accurate valuations of all assets as at the date of death
- Completing Inheritance Tax accounts
- Completing Probate papers
- Arranging payments of inheritance tax
- Collecting in all assets and money due to the estate
- Selling or transferring property
- Paying any outstanding taxes and liabilities
- Obtaining clearance from HM Revenue and customs
- Completing full estate administration accounts
- Distributing the estate to the beneficiaries named in the will (or the beneficiaries under the rules of intestacy if there is no Will)
When is Probate required?
A Grant of Probate is required on assets in the sole name of the deceased.
All banks, building societies and other financial institutions have different thresholds for when Probate is required. For example, if your grandmother’s bank account has £15,000 remaining when she died and the bank’s threshold for Probate is £30,000, it is likely that you will be able to access these funds without requiring a grant of probate.
Probate is nearly always required on assets over £30,000 and of course on any property owned in the sole name of the deceased.
The Probate Process
Probate and Estate Administration can involve complex legal work which can be broken down into separate stages:
- Stage One:
Arranging the valuation of all the deceased’s assets to include property, personal effects, bank accounts, investments and shares and obtaining up to date valuations of all liabilities such as loans, mortgages, and any other liabilities. This is to ascertain the value of the Estate.
- Stage Two:
Confirming the validity and terms of the deceased’s Will, or the authority and beneficiaries under the Rules of Intestacy (if they died without a Will) and obtaining identification for all Executors/Administrators and Beneficiaries.
- Stage Three:
Completing the correct inheritance tax account. This is required regardless of whether there is any tax payable and there are a number of different forms to complete, depending on the value of the Estate and the tax exemptions which are available to be claimed.
- Stage Four:
Paying Inheritance Tax to HM Revenue & Customs which is required prior to the Court issuing the Grant of Probate.
- Stage Five:
Completing the Probate papers and making the application to the Court for the Grant of Probate.
- Stage Six:
After the Grant of Probate has been issued, all assets in the Estate can be realised, property sold or transferred, and liabilities settled.
- Stage Seven:
HMRC can be accounted to for any final balance of Inheritance Tax due to or from the Estate.
- Stage Eight:
An application can be made to HM Revenue & Customs for clearance.
- Stage Nine:
Estate administration accounts will be prepared showing all monies in and out of the Estate and confirming the balance due to the Beneficiaries. These will be sent to the Executor/Administrator for approval.
- Stage Ten:
Subject to there being no challenges to the Estate or any investigation by HM Revenue & Customs which could prevent distribution of the Estate at this stage, the Executors/Administrators will be reimbursed for any expenses and the balance of the Estate distributed among the Beneficiaries.
Why choose Boyletts Law?
- FIXED FEE
- Award winning
- FREE home visits from a Probate Lawyer available on request
- NO HIDDEN FEES with all costs agreed upfront
- Face to face meetings or option to start the process online
- Authorised and regulated by the Solicitors Regulation Authority
- Significant experience in a wide range of estates
- Friendly advice without the unnecessary jargon
In 2019, our Company Director Kim Boylett received the Highly Commended Private Client Lawyer of the Year Award at the CILEx National Law Awards.
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or by completing our online enquiry form.