About Probate Forms
Obtaining a grant of probate and understanding exactly what it is can be very confusing. It is not always necessary to apply for a grant of probate when a person passes away. Whether a grant is required will depend on the type of assets the deceased held, where they were held and how much they value. The existence of a will can also effect whether or not a grant of probate will be required.
Before applying for probate you will need to establish the existence of a Will. A will should identify who the deceased has chosen as the executors of their estate, the executors named in the will have the legal authority to apply for probate.
If after taking reasonable measures no will is discovered, the Rules of Intestacy would be applied to the estate. The laws of Intestacy identify the next of kin as having the legal authority to administer the estate. If there is more than one next of kin with the same right to administer the estate, letters can be applied for jointly or by one person, who with agreement from the other next of kin with the same legal rights, has taken on the responsibility of the administration.
It is the responsibility of the executor or administrator of the estate to apply for a grant of probate or letters of administration. A grant is issued in the name of the executor or administrator, a grant will not be issued to a person who does not have the legal right to apply for probate.
Applying for a grant of probate is essentially the process of proving the will valid, if there is one. Once the will is deemed valid by a judge then the court can identify the executors, creditors with claims and the beneficiaries of the estate. If there is no will letters of administration will be issued in the place of a grant of probate. Letters of administration are used to prove the deceased’s next of kins right to administer the estate.
Before starting the probate application process there are certain actions that should be taken first. Registering the Death and arranging the funeral should take priority, once the necessary arrangements have been made you should start looking into the probate process.
The more information that is available about the deceased’s assets and institutions where they are held the easier it will be to start your application. To collect this information you should start by going through and organising the deceased’s personal and professional documents. This process can be an overwhelming process but it will give you an idea of what institutions you will need to contact.
Once you have compiled a list of the institutions where the deceased held assets as well as potential creditors of the estate you should start to contact each one and inform them of the death. When informing the relevant institutions of the death you will be asked to provide a copy of the death certificate and in some cases a copy of the will. At this point you should request final statements and instructions as to what each institution will require from you in order to collect the estates assets. You can find templates and examples of letters that you would send to these institutions on our pre grant probate Letters page in our DIY Probate Section.
Once you have gathered statements and collected values of the estates assets you should start to look into the Probate application forms. The value of the estate will indicate which Inheritance tax forms you will require although depending on certain assets you may be directed to different forms than originally expected. To save yourself time you should review the Inheritance tax forms to check which ones are applicable to the estate before starting to fill them in .
If there is no inheritance tax to pay you should start by looking into the PA1 Form and IHT205 Form. However, depending on your answers to the questions on the IHT205 you may be redirected to the IHT400.
For estates that are over the inheritance tax threshold of £325,000 you should look into possible exemptions that you may be able to apply to reduce the estates Inheritance tax liability. If the estate is eligible for exemptions you will need to complete the relevant form as well as the corresponding IHT205 or IHT400.
The IHT 400 and its accompanying forms can be complicated you should read through these forms first to make sure you understand what information is being asked of you. If at any point you do not feel confident it is advised to seek professional assistance.
The FORM PA1 is the probate application form and must be completed for every estate that is subject to probate. It will require that you know the name, date of birth and death, and occupation of the deceased. You must also identify if there was a will left behind and if the deceased appointed representatives in the will. The form basically requires that you know the personal information regarding the deceased.
FORM IHT205 deals with information regarding the estate of the deceased. This particular form is used for small estates with a total value less than the inheritance tax threshold. This form is also used for estates that are worth less than £1,000,000, with no inheritance tax to pay. If there is inheritance tax payable on the estate the IHT400 should be used instead.
Form IHT400 deals with information regarding the estate of the deceased. This form is used when an estates total value exceeds the inheritance tax threshold of £325,000. It may also be used in other circumstances depending on the make-up of the deceased’s Estate.
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