Key steps of Probate
Probate is the legal right to deal with someone’s possessions, property and money when they die. Probate must be handled in a certain way and follow a series of steps to ensure it is carried out properly and with the wishes of the deceased respected.
If a client leaves a Will there will be a ‘grant of probate’ required and executors will be named.
If there is no Will there will be a ‘letter of administration’, whereby an application will need to be made by someone to administer the estate.
If you are an executor of a Will and unsure of the steps of Probate then have a look at our checklist below:
The Probate application if there is a Will:
- Firstly the Will needs to be retrieved from where it is being safely stored. If this is not known then Certainty, the National Will Register, can help source a Will.
- The executor – who has been nominated in the Will – can carry out the Probate, or enlist the assistance of a professional company such as Make Me A Will, in dealing with the probate.
- Value the Estate – this includes contacting relevant companies such as banks and utility providers. The estate will need to be valued and reported to the HMRC, the value will determine what inheritance tax there is to pay. The gross value of the estate needs to be valued, which is the value of all ‘assets’ plus gifts.
- From this you need to identify the ‘net’ value which is the value of the assets plus gifts minus debt owed.
- Apply for Probate – an executor can apply for probate or someone else licensed to handle Probate (such as Make Me A Will) can be used.
- Any inheritance tax owed should be paid.
- Assets, such as money from a property sale, should be collected.
- Debts must be paid from the assets if need be.
- Estate accounts should be kept as to how the assets are split.
- The estate can be passed on to any named beneficiaries in the Will.
Probate can possibly take between 6 to 9 months to complete, or longer for complex cases or if the Will is contested. The time and resource and potential cost needed for this can be consuming, which is why we have a legal team who are experienced in the Probate process and can support in a number of ways.
Intestate – there is no Will…
If no Will was in place then an application will need to be made for an administrator, this is someone who has the legal right to deal with the estate. With no Will in place then the law will decide who inherits what from the Estate. This is intestacy and we will cover this off in a future blog.
If you are having to deal with Probate and need some advice and support, then just contact us on 01522 500823, and our experienced team will be happy to chat through your queries.