Probate is a term commonly used term when talking about applying for the right to deal with a deceased person's affairs.
Probate is a legal process that takes place after a person's death. It usually involves proving that the deceased's Will is valid, identifying and valuing all of the deceased person's property and assets, paying any outstanding debts and any tax due, and distributing the assets as detailed in the Will. The probate process varies depending upon whether a Will exists.
If the person who has died leaves a Will:
In this case one or more Executors may be named in the Will to deal with the deceased person's affairs. The Executor(s) apply for a 'grant of probate' from a section of the court known as the Probate Registry. The grant of probate is a legal document which confirms that the Executor(s) has the authority to deal with the deceased person's assets including property, money, investments and other possession. They will need the grant of probate to show they have the right to access funds, deal with the finances, and collect and share out the deceased person's assets as set out in the Will.
If the person who has died didn't leave a Will:
If there is no Will, a close relative of the deceased can apply to the Probate Registry to deal with the estate. In this case they apply for a 'grant of letters of administration'. If the grant is given, they are known as Administrators of the estate. Like the grant of probate, the grant of letters of administration is a legal document which confirms the Administrator's authority to deal with the deceased person's assets.
Is Probate required for all deceased estates?
A grant of probate may not be needed where:
- the person who died left total assets valued at less than £5,000
- they owned everything jointly with someone else and everything passes automatically to the surviving joint owner (joint bank accounts / joint tenancy property ownership)
In most other cases the banks or other relevant institutions will need to see the grant of probate before transferring control of the assets, so porbate is required.
Using a professional to undertake probate:
When faced with the probate process many Executors prefer to have the administration carried out on a professional basis, with the estate paying a bank, solicitor or trust company to take the responsibility (and liability) off their hands.
Assurewills is able to offer a full probate administration service. They generally become involved, after a death, when the appointed Executor(s) have looked through the Will and need to know where to start - being an Executor can prove to be a very onerous task. Initial guidance is provided to the Executors, detailing their duties and the process required in order to administer the estate and ultimately obtain grant of probate.
Help and Advice:
Should you have any questions or require help with reviewing your Will, Ethical Investors Group have developed a relationship with Assurewills Limited, a dedicated Will writing and estate planning company, who we are delighted to recommend. Michael Clarkson at Assurewills can be contacted as follows:
Tele: 01223 967477