|Typical Bank fee||£2,600||£7,200||£16,200|
|Typical Solicitor’s fee||£1,300||£3,600||£8,100|
The term Probate is used to describe the legal processes used to distribute a person’s estate after they have died. This involves dealing with a deceased’s property including all financial and personal possessions as well as settling their debts and winding up charges on the estate.
Who can obtain a Grant of Probate?
Usually the executors of the estate are named within the will can obtain a grant probate.
What if there is no Will?
In the case of there being no will then probate will be granted according to the laws of intestacy, when granted under the laws of intestacy a grant of probate will often be referred to as letters of administration.
When Probate may not be required?
When dealing with a small estate usually under £20,000 you may not need to obtain a grant of probate. In cases were the deceased left a Will most banks and building societies will release funds based on proof of ID and a certified copy of the death certificate and Will. If there is no will then it’s quite common for institutions to insist on seeing a grant of probate in order to ensure they release funds to the correct person.
Jointly owned assets
Probate is not normally required to deal with assets that are held in joint names. For example a property passing from one spouse to another that had been registered in joint names or a bank account help in joint names.
How to deal with Probate
Dealing with an estate can be a complicated process but there are some basic common steps
- Register the death at the local probate registry
- Arrange to pay for the funeral, this can be done via the deceased’s bank account, banks have an obligation to release funds to pay for funeral prior to receiving a grant of probate. If you are arranging the funeral then you can present the invoice to the bank.
- Value the deceased’s estate, you can find more information about this in our executor duties section
- Prepare the correct IHT return and pay any IHT (inheritance tax) due
- Apply for the grant of probate
- Register the grant of probate with any relevant institutions
- Transfer the ownership of any property and close any accounts
- Complete any required income tax return or capital gains return on behalf of the deceased
- Pay any debt or liabilities owed by the deceased
- Collect any money or property owed to the deceased
- Pay any expenses incurred
- Prepare final accounts for the estate
- Distribute the estate in accordance with the will or rules of intestacy
When to use a Solicitor
- When you think beneficiaries may challenge the process or require more information about the process and estate than you feel comfortable providing
- When you think there is a danger that a beneficiary my make a claim against the estate
- When you think someone may contest the will
- If the estate doesn’t have the required asserts to pay it debts
- If you feel the work may be to complicated, you should expect probate to take at least 20 hours for a medium sized estate. This wont include the research time required to familiarise yourself with the process
- If the will is invalid or disputed
- If the deceased owned a business
- If the estate could be subject to inheritance tax. There are steps that can be taken to mitigate inheritance tax, if you fail to do this your beneficiaries may have a claim. Solicitors also have more options available to hem around the payment of IHT
- The deceased left money in trust
- The deceased owned a property abroad
- A beneficiary is under the age of 18
- A deed of variation is required