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Probate is the term commonly used to describe the process of handling an individual’s estate after they have died. The more accurate term for this is the administration of estate, of which Probate is one part. Probate itself actually refers to the “Grant of Probate”, which is a grant bestowed by the Probate Registry authorising an individual to deal with the deceased’s estate.

Why Use A Specialist?

There are many requirements to meet to successfully obtain a grant and correctly administrate an estate, and so in most cases, it is strongly advisable to seek the help of an experienced legal expert.

Applying for a Grant of Probate requires you to supply various documents to the Probate Registry, including an application form, inheritance tax form, and copies of the death certificate and will. You are liable when completing the application should any information turn out to be false. This can have serious implications – for example, if you make a mistake on the inheritance tax form you may be charged by the HMRC.

Getting authorisation to administrate the estate is only the first step in a long process that involves collecting all of the deceased’s assets, including any held overseas; selling any property; paying off any debts, and distributing the estate to any beneficiaries. Again, as the administrator, you will be liable for any mistakes you might make.

Regardless of the size or complexity of the estate, if you are seeking to apply for Probate we would strongly recommend getting in touch with a legal expert experienced in administrations of estate to help guide you through the process, and to provide valuable peace of mind in what will undoubtedly be a challenging time.

What Is a Grant And Why Do I Need One?

The Grant of Probate authorises you to administrate the deceased’s estate. When the deceased owns property or has significant financial assets (above £20,000), this grant is legally required before a will can be executed or the estate can otherwise be dealt with.

To apply for Probate, you must send your application and all of the required evidence to the Probate Registry. You will also have to attend an interview at your nearest Probate Registry office, where you will be asked to swear an Oath to confirm that all the information you have supplied is correct.

What Type Of Grant Do I Need?

A Grant of Probate is actually one of several possible grants collectively termed “Grants of Representation”. If the deceased leaves a valid will naming their preferred executors, the Grant of Probate supplies these executors with the legal authority to administrate the deceased’s estate.

If the deceased dies intestate – without a will – a Grant of letters of administration must instead be sought to grant an appropriate individual the role of administrator. There is a strict hierarchy dictating who can apply for letters of administration: spouse or civil partner are prioritised, then children, grandchildren, parents, siblings, and finally more distant relatives are in turn eligible to apply.

As administrator, you are responsible for dividing the estate according to the statutory rules for intestacy as set out by the government, which determines how an estate should be divided depending on the deceased’s surviving relations.

What We Can Offer You

Our Private Client team are experienced in offering a sensitive, understanding and knowledgeable service at what we know can be a very distressing and emotive time. Our team have a thorough knowledge of administration of estates and of the probate process and can be relied upon to guide you carefully through each step of these legal processes.

Our Past Cases

Below are some examples of probate matters dealt with by our Private Client team:

  • Acted on behalf of Executors of complex high value estates and those where Business Property Relief and Agricultural Relief had been claimed.
  • Acted on behalf of Executors of estates with assets both in the UK and overseas.
  • Acted on behalf of Executors of an estate that was administered some years ago who unexpectedly received further estate money and were unable to locate beneficiaries. This involved instructing a tracing agent who located the beneficiaries and liaising with the beneficiaries to verify their identity and ensure they received the sums due to them.

Make a Free Enquiry

Call 0800 086 2929,
email, or complete our Free Online Enquiry Form to arrange a free, no-obligation discussion and let us explain your legal rights and options.

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Meg Wilton

Chartered Legal Executive
Private Client

Meg has been highly recommended by a previous client who has described her as being sensitive,efficient and impossible to fault.

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