What is probate?

Aside from the immediate practicalities and the emotional strain, the death of a loved one means sorting out financial affairs.

Probate is authority from the Court which enables the executors to wind up the financial affairs of the person who has died..  In many cases where there is land or shares, a Grant of Probate will be necessary.

What happens during the process?

The executor will need to investigate the extent of the assets and liabilities of the person who has died.These details will need to be recorded on an inheritance tax form (whether tax is payable or not).

Once Probate is granted, the executor will be able to deal with the deceased’s bank accounts, pension providers, investments companies and transfer or sell any property.

What if the person I am acting for died without a will?

In many cases you must prove that you can act for the person who has died and to do this you will need to apply for something known as a Grant of Letters of Administration.  Banks and other institutions will need to see this document.  This will also be needed before contracts can be exchanged in relation to a property sale.

Who inherits when there is no will?

There is a strict hierarchy of who inherits when someone dies without having made a will.  This is dependant upon the value of your estate but can include

  • Spouse or civil partner (note that unmarried partners are not included)
  • Children, grandchildren, great grandchildren
  • Parents
  • Brothers or sisters or their children
  • Half brothers or sisters or their children
  • Grandparents
  • Uncles or aunts or their children
  • Half uncles or aunts or their children
  • Finally, if there are no known relatives, the state will take.

Why do I need a lawyer to help?

Probate can be lengthy and time consuming.  A good  lawyer will not only do the practical things, such as prepare the papers required for Probate and make an application to the court on your behalf, but will also explain the process clearly and guide you through the many pitfalls. We can also assist with paying Inheritance Tax and explaining the deadlines involved.  We can also advise on precautionary measures to be taken in case a third  party may want to put a claim in.

We can also help with:

  • Estate Administration
  • Advice on Contested Wills
  • Resealing of Foreign Grants
  • Post Death Tax Planning (Deeds of Variation)

We also offer home visits to the elderly, infirm and disabled and can provide large print leaflets on request.

The contents of this article are intended for general information purposes only and shall not be deemed to be, or constitute legal advice. We cannot accept responsibility for any loss as a result of acts or omissions taken in respect of this article.