What is Probate?

Where a valid Will has been left, the Executors nominated under that Will are required to be formally appointed Executors by a Court order called the Grant of Probate. The Executors then distribute the estate in accordance with the Will.

Where a valid Will does not exist then the intestacy Rules apply to determine not only how the estate is distributed, but also who is entitled to be appointed by the Court to administer.

These are called Administrators instead of Executors but often both systems are referred to as "Probate."

The Court will issue the Grant of Probate, where there is a Will, and letters of Administration, in situations where there is no Will.

Do I need it?

A Grant of Probate or Letters of Administration may not be required where someone only has jointly held assets with another person, for example a property, or a single account with a nominal sum (less than £6,000 usually.)

In all other instances Probate would normally be required. If you are unsure then simply ask us.

What does Probate Involve?

The roll of Executor (and more so an Administrator) not only involves distributing the estate in accordance to a Will of the Intestacy Rules but also considerable legal, administrative and taxation responsibilities.

These cannot only seem daunting to undertake but failure to do these correctly can leave you personally liable for any errors.

Principal tasks include:

  • Confirming the value of the assets
    and debts of the estate.
  • Payment of Inheritance Tax.
  • Applying for the Grant of Probate.
  • Taking control of the assets and transferring
    them into their own names
  • Producing the Grant of Probate to banks, building societies, insurance companies and other institutions and selling assets to be sold.
  • Paying debts, taxes and other liabilities.
  • Paying out the estate according to the Will or under the Intestacy rules.
  • Provide estate accounts and tax returns.
  • Comply with HM Revenue & Customs.
  • Tax returns covering the period after the date of death will also be the responsibility of the executors.

How long does Probate take?

As each person is an individual, no two estate administrations are identical and the time taken to administer an estate varies greatly dependant on what assets form part of the estate and where they are located.  An estate consisting of one bank account may take several weeks to administer whilst a multinational estate may take years.

The expertise of the people undertaking the work can also have a great impact on the length of time taken and that’s why choosing our specialist solicitors can mean the estate administration is finalised in the shortest possible time.

Key Facts

If a Will has been left, the people named as Executors have the job of administering the property and possession (the estate) according to the Will.

If no Will has been left, the laws of Intestacy apply and the next of kin may administer the Estate. The Executors or Adminstrators are responsible for everything that they do with the Estate, or don’t do.

It is important to get it right from the start, and to make sure that no mistakes are made, which you could be liable for.

ProbateMate can help to ensure that your role is fulfilled correctly and legally.