22 Nov 2021

What is There to Consider When Starting the Probate Process?

When a loved one passes away, the focus should, quite rightly, be on grieving and supporting, and comforting, those who are suffering at a tragic time.

When it comes to dealing with the financial practicalities and estate management of the person who passed away, relying on the skill and expertise of a solicitor in the matter of probate provides a reassurance that nothing is being missed and matters are being dealt with by a professional.

What is Probate?

This is the process of obtaining the rights to deal with a person’s property, money, and possessions (known as their estate) after they have passed away in accordance with their Will. As a person going through the probate process, you shouldn’t seek to make any financial plans or put property up for sale until you have probate.

Do I need Probate?

To start the process, you need to apply to get probate. But it is important to check if you actually need it and if you’re eligible.

By contacting the financial organisations the deceased had previously used for their banking and mortgage, for example, you will be able to find out if you’ll need probate to get access to their assets. Rules vary from organisation to organisation, so it is important you contact them to find out their stance.

It could be the case that probate isn’t needed if the person who has passed away had jointly owned land, property, shares or money as these will pass on to the surviving owners by law. If the deceased only had savings, then probate may be required depending on where they are situated.

If there is any land or property in the estate then you will always need Probate.

Can I apply for probate?

Only certain people can apply for probate but that is dependent on if there is a valid Will in place. If there is a Will, the executors named on it can apply for probate. If there is no Executor named in the Will then one of the beneficiaries will need to step forward to prove the Will.

What do I need to do before applying?

If you are eligible to apply, ascertain, estimate and report the value of the estate of the deceased to discover if there is any inheritance tax due.

Winn Solicitors’ Head of Wills, Probate and Trusts Rebecca Harbron Gray said; “The assistance of a solicitor early on in an estate's administration can make the process quicker, more accurate and give peace of mind to those grieving that they are carrying out the wishes of their loved one.”

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