Applying for a Grant of Probate can be complicated, it will all depend on the complexity of the Estate. If you have the right solicitor by your side, the process of probate can be broken down into 7 easy steps:
Applying for a Grant of Probate is easier when there is a Will because the Will appoints the Executor who is the only person who can administer the Estate. Although the Executor can ask a professional to assist with the process.
When there is no Will the deceased died intestate and it will need to be establish under the rules of intestacy who is entitled to administer the Estate – this is done in accordance with strict rules relating to bloodline.
How much did the deceased leave behind in total? This includes any property, funds, land, shares, and belongings. The executor or administrator (your solicitor) will need to write to each institution providing a death certificate and ask for a final sum in order to come up with an official estate total.
Apply to the Probate Registry for a Grant – this can be done by a Solicitor appointed by the Executor. The Probate Registry will issue the Grant which is a legal document that enables the Executor to collect in assets and sell property or land.
The current threshold for paying inheritance tax is £325,000.00 for a single person. There is no inheritance tax to pay when the Estate passes to a surviving spouse or charity.
The threshold can be doubled up to £650,000.00 if the Estate on a first death passed to the surviving spouse. If only part of the Estate passed, then it is the percentage of that amount which can be added to the £325,000.00 threshold on the death of the surviving spouse.
Paying inheritance tax can be complicated dependent on how many assets there are to take into consideration. If in any doubt, please seek professional help as it could save money.
Once inheritance tax has been paid the Grant can be applied for. Once the Grant is received the Executor will be able to collect in all assets.
The Executor will need to ensure that they pay all debts due from the Estate, such as outstanding utility bills, council tax, loans etc.
Once all liabilities have been settled the Executor should prepare Estate Accounts showing the money collected in and the debts paid. If there are any specific gifts (legacies) these should be paid first and then the remainder (residuary estate) should be divided as per the terms of the Will – an Executor must not vary the gifts or payment of the residuary estate. Some Wills contain gifts of a specific nature and these items should also be handed to the beneficiaries.
If there is no Will then the Estate needs to be divided between the beneficiaries entitled under the rules of intestacy.
Remember – if the Executor does not correctly distribute an Estate, they will be liable to make payment of the sum due to the beneficiary and in some circumstances, Court costs and compensation.
If in any doubt then professional help should be sought by the Executor prior to distributing the Estate.
If you’re still confused on any matters to do with probate, give Best Value Probate a call on 0800 038 6677 and we’ll have our expert probate solicitors ease your worries.
Ellie is a resident writer for Best Value Probate, covering topics such as Probate, wills and other legal proceedings.