Applying for Probate

Probate 19/09/19 | Superadmin

To execute a will, you must first obtain a grant of probate – a legal device that gives the executor or administrator of the Estate the right to start distributing and selling the assets of somebody who has died.

The probate process, however, can be complicated, so it’s worth reading up ahead of time knowing what to expect.

In general, you have to go through five steps to wrap up the deceased’s estate.

Step 1: Identify the Assets of The Deceased

The first step is to find out what assets the deceased person owns. They may own houses, buildings, land, investment vehicles (such as shares, ETFs or stakes in mutual funds). They may also have liabilities – money that they owe to other people. For instance, they may still have a mortgage outstanding on their home or owe money to a private lender. Adding assets to liabilities determines the overall value of their estate. The value of their house, for instance, is determined by subtracting the money they must still pay on the mortgage from the sale value.

During this first step, you also need to find out whether the person wrote a will or not. If the deceased did not write a will, you will need to prepare to enact a division of their assets according to Intestacy Laws.

Step 2: Obtain A Grant of Representation and Pay Any Inheritance Tax Due

To gain access to the assets held by a person who has died, the next of kin or executor must apply for legal documents which permit them to carry out the will. To do this, they must apply to the Probate Registry for a Grant of Representation – a document which gives the holder the legal authority to administer the will.

When a person dies, the next of kin or executor is required by law to fill out an inheritance tax return, regardless of whether inheritance tax is due. If there is tax to be paid, it should be paid immediately and up front.

Step 3: Liquidate Assets and Settle Liabilities

As discussed, the deceased person may have liabilities – money that they owe to other people. It is the responsibility of the next of kin or executor to pay these liabilities on their behalf. The first step in this part of the process is to “liquidate” all of their assets. Liquidation means selling their assets and converting them into cash that can then be used to settle debts and pay tax. When managing an estate, the executor uses the money from the sale of assets to pay any income, capital gains, or inheritance tax owed. It is also used for paying any professionals involved in estate administration and settling debts with private lenders.

Step 4: Preparing Estate Accounts

Once all liabilities are settled, the accounts for the estate must be prepared, showing how much money is left over the for beneficiaries.

Step 5: Transfer Assets

So long as there are no legal challenges, the final step involves transferring the assets to the beneficiaries. The final valance in the estate fund determines how much each person gets.

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Philips Trust provides guidance and support on a wide range of estate planning and trust administration matters. Complete contact form, give us a call or use the online chat to speak to one of our professional advisors.

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For the answer to this and many other questions about estate planning, head over to our service pages or contact us

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