What Is Probate?

Probate 18/09/19 | Superadmin

Probate is often referred to as the “Proving of the Will” – Probate is the term used by legal professionals to describe the process of dealing with the assets of a person who has died. Although next-of-kin may be stated as heirs to an estate in the will, they cannot access and distribute assets until they obtain a grant of probate.

To apply for probate, the executor must get a Grant of Probate, or where there is no Executor a beneficiary would apply to be an administrator of the estate to get Letters of Administration. These documents allow concerned parties to begin dividing assets up according to the will. If there is no will, then the estate must be divided up according to the rules set out in the laws of Intestacy.

Once probate is granted, the executor can begin diving up, transferring and selling a deceased person’s assets. They cannot do so beforehand.

When Does Probate Apply?

Probate in England and Wales applies in the following situations:

  1. Accessing assets held by banks and financial institutions. The deceased person may have assets in their bank accounts which are detailed in the will. The Grant of Representation is a document which gives next of kin or the executor the authority to transfer funds from the deceased’s bank account to another. Different banks have different thresholds above which they require a Grant of Representation to access funds.
  2. Transferring and selling property. Probate is required if the deceased person owns property. Property, as defined by law, means any buildings, houses or land that the person may own.

How Does Probate work in the UK ?

When it comes to probate, you generally have two options. You can either apply for probate yourself or hire a professional to do it for you.

If the financial situation of the deceased is straightforward, you might consider administering the will yourself. You’ll need to fill out certain forms so that you can obtain the legal right to act as the administrator of the will.

Your other option is to appoint a professional to oversee the process on your behalf. Many people choose to use professionals in situations where the financial position of the deceased is complicated. You might seek the help of professionals if the deceased owns property, businesses, financial assets and instruments, or has outstanding debt obligations.

Once you’ve got probate and have decided who will execute the division of assets according to the will, you’ll then need to go through all the practicalities. These could include the following:

  • Notifying banks and building societies that a person has died
  • Informing government agencies, including HMRC, of a person’s death
  • Totalling their assets and liabilities
  • Calculating and Paying any inheritance tax owed
  • Distributing their assets
  • Closing and settling accounts

Who Is The Executor?

The Executor is a legal title given to the person responsible for carrying out the will. Although most executors give their permission to be named as such, those writing wills do not have to ask for the executor’s permission, though this is usually a good idea as an Executor is not obliged to act! . An executor is a person that the deceased nominates to distribute their assets and can be a friend, family member or even a legal professional.

Contact Us to see how We can help

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.

What is sideways disinheritance?

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