The Probate Process with Winn Solicitors
When a death occurs, many deceased’s estate will go through a process of Probate, which is required to ensure inheritance of money and/or assets is passed on to those who should receive it under the terms of a Will.
The probate process is a potentially daunting necessity. As a result, people often rely on the expertise and knowledge of a legal advisor to guide them through the relevant paperwork that will inevitably be involved.
Winn Solicitors has a dedicated team of advisors available to help you navigate through the process and do so with limited fuss and angst so you can focus on grieving and finding comfort in those closest to you. Less stressing about questions like 'what do I do next in the process?' and 'how long does Probate take?' and more focus on the things that matter most.
What is Probate?
Probate is the legal process of ensuring the property, money, and assets of a deceased person is passed on to those who are legally entitled to it, either based on the wishes of a Will – Probate acts to prove a Will is valid and confirms who has authority on the estate’s administration – or the rules of intestacy, should no Will be present.
Before Beneficiaries can claim what is deemed as their inheritance, they may have to apply for a grant of Probate, a legal document that can be needed to access the bank accounts of the person who has passed, sell their assets and settle debts following a death.
Can’t thank Rebecca for the quick and easy probate from start to finish. Extremely professional and so helpful and friendly. Nothing was a bother. Made a difficult time an easy transition. Highly recommend to anyone to use.
How does Probate work?
The Probate process is a complicated process that deals with the legal and financial affairs of a deceased person:
- It begins with first understanding if there is a Will, whether it is a valid Will properly made and witnessed and that the original can be located. We can assist in locating a lost Will or checking with the National Will Register too.
- Next we can assist with the identification of all assets, as well as any outstanding debts, so a value of the estate can be determined and those who are entitled to inherit are confirmed based on the circumstances of the deceased.
- Drafting of the relevant HMRC forms and HMTCS (Probate Court) forms then commences.
- Paying of any inheritance tax then follows (if applicable), with an application for the grant of representation (a document confirming who is permitted to administer the estate. If there is a Will this is the Executors and if there is no Will it will be the Administrator(s).
- Once the Grant is received then the selling/closure of assets, settling of liability, and final payments to those entitled to them take place.
- Throughout the process we are risk assessing the timing of distributions to ensure no over-distributions are made, no distributions are made to a bankrupt beneficiary, and that the risks of people potentially bringing a claim are mitigated and reduced by insurance (if necessary)
Rebecca from Wills and Probate was the ultimate professional: polite, considerate and efficient when dealing with sensitive family issues.
Why choose Winns to help with the Probate process?
We have an experienced team of advisors who can help you with the process of Probate. Led by Rebecca Harbron Gray, a solicitor with decades of experience in Wills, Probate, and Trusts, our team will work efficiently, effectively, and compassionately on your file to ensure your circumstances are established swiftly and managed sensitively and diligently.
Call the team today for a no-obligation chat about your circumstances. We can help you find a path through the Probate process.
When is Probate needed?
The process is required when the person who passed away had assets that were solely in their name and over a specific value. Depending on where and how a deceased’s assets are held can mean probate is or is not needed. The requirements from institution to institution do vary and we can assess the estate in a call to offer you guidance on whether your loved one's estate is likely to need Probate. If there is a need for a grant of Probate, or grant of letters of administration (if there is no Will), because a financial institution is requesting it, then we can guide you through the process.
Do I need Probate if a valid Will is available?
The requirement for Probate is not based on the existence of a Will and is more dependent on the financial situation of the person who has passed away.
Who is responsible for getting Probate?
If the deceased made a valid Will before their passing, then the responsibility to get Probate arranged falls on the Executors of the estate who are mentioned specifically in the Will. If no Will is evident, the rules of intestacy will dictate who is responsible.
What are the rules of intestacy?
These are a set of rules laid out by statute that denote the order of inheritance. Please click here to see how they might apply to you.
How long does Probate take?
One of the more common questions at the start of the process is 'how long does Probate take?' This depends on the complexity of the estate involved but a straightforward Probate can take anywhere between six and 12 months to complete. It's important to discuss your unique situation with an expert to get a better estimation of timescales.
What documents do I need before starting Probate?
A Grant of Probate (if there is a Will), or Grant of Letters of Administration (if there is no Will) are required.
A layperson applying for probate will also need to provide an original copy death certificate alongside the application forms and if there is a Will, the Executor will need to obtain the original Will.
The applicant will need to provide forms to the Probate Registry when making the application via the post. These are either a PA1A or PA1P application form. Often Inheritance Tax forms must also be sent.
Is Probate required if there is a valid Will?
Executors often believe Probate is always necessary if there’s a valid Will. However, this is not always the case. Whether or not Probate is required is dependent on the assets and liabilities contained within the estate.
It’s advisable for Probate to be obtained in any event so that the Executor can be formally appointed, helping to mitigate any potential future disputes.
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Meet the Wills, Probate & Trusts Team
Rebecca Harbron Gray
Head of Wills, Probate & Trusts
For More Information
- Call Rebecca Harbron Gray and her team on 0800 915 2328.
- We offer home visits across the North East.
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