Probate is the word used to describe the legal process of administering the estate of a person who has died, and, after deducting debts and other liabilities, transferring that person’s money and possessions to the people who will inherit them: their beneficiaries.
There are strict rules governing how property, possessions and money are distributed upon death, including completing relevant tax forms.
Probate and the administration of your estate can be complicated and burdensome, at a time when family members are naturally distressed at the death of a loved one.
Our experienced team is familiar with all the complexities of the system and our Probate services are provided in partnership with Kings Court Trust Ltd, who are Probate and Estate Administration specialists.
Let us ensure that everything is handled properly and promptly on your behalf. To find out more about Probate and the services we can offer, please contact us.
What is Probate?
Where the deceased person left a Will, the Executors named in the will are the people responsible for administering the estate. They need a Grant of Probate, which gives them the authority to deal with the estate.
Where there is no Will, the people responsible for administering the estate are called Administrators. Administrators need a Grant of Letters of Administration in order to administer the estate.
The roles of Executors and Administrators are very similar and the processes that each use to administer estates are generically known as Probate.
Why do you need Probate?
Probate is generally required to enable a person’s assets (property, money and possessions) to be distributed following their death.
What happens if the person who has died leaves a Will?
In this case the Executors named in the Will deal with the person’s affairs after their death. The Executor applies for a ‘Grant of Probate’ from a section of the court known as the Probate Registry. The Grant is a legal document which confirms that the Executor(s) has the authority to deal with the deceased person’s assets. They can use it to show they have the right to access funds, sort out finances, and collect and share out the deceased person’s assets as set out in the Will.
What happens 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.
Even if there is just one asset in the sole name of the deceased, it is likely that Probate could still be required. However, each case is unique and we can help you through this process.
What is involved? Find out more…
Whether or not the person who has died left a Will, the estate will have to be administered. Some estates are very simple to administer while others are very complex. The Executors’ and Administrators’ duties include:
- obtaining the Grant of Probate or Letters of Administration
- identifying all the deceased person’s assets and valuing them as at the date of death
- gathering in all the assets, including any overseas
- settling all the deceased person’s liabilities
- preparing estate accounts
- accounting to HMRC for any Inheritance, Income and / or Capital Gains Taxes due
- identifying all the beneficiaries and locating any who are missing or unknown
- correctly distributing the estate to the beneficiaries
The Executors or Administrators are responsible for administering the estate and are accountable to Her Majesty Revenue and Customs (HMRC) and to the beneficiaries.
The process of administering an estate can be quite time consuming and also sometimes daunting. Please talk to us before you start as we can help you assess your situation and point you in the right direction.