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When a loved one passes away it is a very difficult and stressful time for everyone.

It may seem cruel that there are so many tasks that need attending to within a few days.

There is the funeral to arrange, notifying family and friends, obtaining a death certificate, the list may seem endless. On top of all this there are official documents which need to be completed in the coming weeks.

What is Probate?

Probate is the name given to the process of collecting in and distributing out, all assets owned by the deceased.

If the person had a Will, then this will name those appointed to complete this duty (the executors).

If there is no Will then this makes matters more complex and the next of kin must apply for letters of administration so that they can complete Probate for the deceased.

Unfortunately, at a time when you need to grieve, this complex and time-consuming task may feel like too much to take on. Our members will be able to complete this process on your behalf and help shoulder some of the immense burden following a loved one’s death.

Search for a Best member today and look out for members which list Probate under their list of services.

Who is responsible for obtaining probate?

The executor of the deceased person’s will is responsible for obtaining probate. In cases where a person dies without nominating an executor, the responsibility usually passes on to the next of kin.

Whoever applies for probate will have to distribute the estate according to the terms stipulated within the will after paying all outstanding debts and taxes.

Will I need to attend court for probate?

You will need to attend a Probate Registry (Probate Court) as part of the probate process. You can also appoint a legal representative to apply for probate on your behalf and they will take care of this, so you won’t need to attend court at all.

What is the difference between an executor and an administrator?

Executors are the personal representatives of a deceased person who made a valid will.

Administrators are those in charge of the estate when the deceased person dies intestate (without a will).

What are my duties as an executor?
  • Obtain a Grant of Probate
  • Collect all the assets included in the estate
  • Value the entire estate
  • Pay all inheritance tax (IHT) owed on the estate
  • Pay any outstanding debts owed on the estate
  • Distribute the estate’s assets in accordance with the will
When would I not need probate?

You might not need to apply for probate if:

  • The estate doesn’t include shares, property or land
  • The estate was jointly-held with the deceased person’s surviving spouse or civil partner – for example, a joint mortgage or bank account that continues in the name of the survivor
  • The money stored in the account is within bank limits; different banks and financial organisations have their own rules on how much money they can release before requiring a Grant of Probate
  • The deceased had taken out measures during their lifetime (such as Trust/s) to protect certain parts of their estate
When do I have to pay inheritance tax?

Inheritance Tax (IHT) may be payable, this depends on the how much their estate is worth and where/who it has been left to.

You must pay inheritance tax within six months of the deceased person’s death. If it is not paid by then, HMRC will start charging interest.

Furthermore, the court won’t issue the Grant of Probate whilst there is still inheritance tax left to pay.

How do I ensure I’ve informed everyone who is owed monies by a deceased’s estate?

Before distributing an estate, it is considered best practice to place a deceased estates notice in The Gazette to advertise for any unknown creditors and beneficiaries to come forward. This offers financial protection in the event of a claimant presenting themselves after the estate has been finalised. A notice can be placed directly on The Gazette website, or via your appointed solicitor. Follow this link to find out more:

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