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Frequently Asked Questions About Probate

 

After someone dies, the application for the Grant of Probate or the Grant of Letters of Administration is the process required to obtain the grant which allows the Executors, or if there is no Will the Administrators (together commonly referred to as Personal Representatives (PR’s) to collect the deceased’s assets so they can be distributed in accordance with the Will or Intestacy Provisions . The procedures are the same even if there is no Will, but the terminology will be different, Executors named in a Will can apply for a Grant of Probate, if the Will does not name an Executor or if those named are unable to act for any reason then a beneficiary can apply for a Grant of Letters of Administration with the Will Annexed, if there is no Will then any of those entitled under the Intestacy Provisions can apply for a Grant of Letters of Administration. In this blog, our private client team answers some frequently asked questions about when probate is needed and some of the procedures involved.

 

How Do You Apply for a Grant of Probate?

Before applying for a Grant of Probate, check if it is necessary and you are eligible to apply. The PR’s will  need to ascertain the estate’s value to determine if there is Inheritance Tax to pay, if there is tax to pay this must be paid before the application for the Grant can proceed As interest accrues on unpaid tax after six months it is important that enquires are made with organisations such as banks, building societies and investment companies as soon as possible.  In such circumstances you may still need to send an Inheritance Tax Account even if there is no tax to pay.  You can check the HMRC  website to see if an account is required or not:

https://www.gov.uk/valuing-estate-of-someone-who-died/check-type-of-estate

 

If an Inheritance Tax Account is required, you can’t apply fir your Grant until HMRC acknowledge the account and issue you a code which is required to submit your application for the Grant.  The code will not be issued unless you have paid the tax.  At Rose & Rose we can assist you in accessing funds from banks and other organisations to pay the tax, arrange a short term loan or in circumstances where funds cannot be accessed arrange for HMRC to agree to the Grant being issued “on credit” and the tax to be paid as soon as funds are obtained after the Grant.

The applications can be  made online or via post.  As a PR you will be signing a Statement of Truth to the information provided and as such  you may wish to enlist the help of a legal professional to help you through the process, which would be advisable if you have concerns about doing this correctly or if there are any complexities in the estate.

At Rose & Rose, we can handle all aspects of the estate administration on your behalf or assist in obtaining the Grant of Probate. We can advise you on the validity of the Will or how the estate should be distributed if there is no Will.

 

Is Probate Always Necessary?

You may not always need probate, and the value of the estate or what assets the deceased person owned will determine whether it is necessary. For example, you may not need probate if the person who died jointly owned land, property, shares, or money, as these will automatically be passed on to the surviving owners. 

Banks will typically release smaller funds and assets – normally if the estate’s value is less than £10,000 – without needing to see a formal grant , and in these circumstances, probate will probably not be needed. However, it is important to realise that there is no set probate threshold in England and Wales. Each bank and financial organisation will have its own limit they can release – ranging from anywhere between £5,000 to £50,0000 – and each will have its own approach to probate.

A Grant will always be necessary if the deceased owned any property either in the UK or abroad.

If you are unsure whether you need a Grant of Probate, as this can be difficult to recognise, our specialist probate team at Rose & Rose can help you. Contact a member of our probate team, who can assist in determining this for you.

  

Do I Need a Solicitor to Apply for Probate or Administer an Estate?

There is no legal requirement to use a solicitor or probate practitioner for obtaining a Grant of Probate – you can find information here on the government website – or when administering the estate. However, the process can be highly time-consuming and involve complex procedures, and if you were to make any mistakes, there is also the risk that you can be held financially liable. Even if you applied for a grant without a solicitor, we would always recommend that you use a regulated professional to help you through the administration process, especially in cases where an estate is more complex. For example, if terms of a Will are unclear, if there are trusts involved, if there are assets or property located abroad, if the person who died owned a business, if there are beneficiaries under the age of 18, or if someone is likely to dispute the Will, then these are some of the circumstances when it is highly recommended to seek specialist legal advice when administering an estate.  

Once you have obtained the Grant it is a personal appointment, and you are responsible for ensuring the deceased’s debts are paid and that the estate is distributed correctly.  Whilst your liability towards debts is only the extent of the deceased’s assets to pay those debts, you will be personally responsible to creditors if you distribute estate assets to beneficiaries before paying creditors.

 

Probate Solicitors

We recognise that dealing with the estate of a loved one can be a daunting prospect and our specialist probate and estate administration solicitors are here to advise and assist. We can handle all aspects of the administration on your behalf or just assist in obtaining the Grant of Probate. Our specialist probate team will also be able to advise on the validity of the Will or how the estate should be distributed if there is no Will.

Our probate lawyers are highly experienced in all probate and administration work, including in highly complex and multimillion-pound estates with complex tax and cross-border issues.

For further information, please contact a member of our team below or email info@roselegal.co.uk.

 

This blog post is not intended to be taken as advice or acted upon. If you are seeking legal advice, please contact our team of solicitors.

Meet the team

Meet the team working for you. Click the photo to view that team members profile or use the button to send them an email.

 

Sally-Ann Joseph

Ashraf Islam

Zubair Dharamsi

Zubair Dharamsi

Aneta Kapron

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Romeo Fazal

Portrait image of Lucy Stanton, Paralegal at Rose & Rose

Lucy Stanton