People are often surprised to find they need a Grant of Probate to handle their loved one’s estate. Richard Barlow kicks off the new year by explaining that making a will is not the end of the process, but the beginning…
My mum died recently, leaving a will that appointed me as an executor of her estate. I’ve been told I still need a Grant of Probate – is this correct?
It is a common misconception that a Grant of Probate is not required to deal with the assets of someone who made a will.
It is, in fact, the value of your mum’s estate that determines whether or not a Grant of Probate is needed. It can, however, be a grey area. For example, one high street bank states they will not need sight of the document, unless the deceased held accounts with them totalling more than £50,000. A different bank has set the limit at £25,000 and another at £15,000 and so on.
A Grant of Probate is a document, produced by the Probate Registry (a division of the courts), that confirms the named executors are authorised to legally administer the deceased’s estate, in accordance with the terms of their will.
If your mum owned property, especially in her sole name, a Grant of Probate will almost always be required to sell or transfer it to another party.
When dealing with the estate of someone who did not make a will, the same principles of value apply, but instead of a Grant of Probate, the administrators must apply for a Grant of Letters of Administration from the Probate Registry.
Can I apply for a Grant of Probate or do I need the help of a solicitor?
The probate application process has changed significantly recently.
Traditionally, the Probate Registry application was made in paper form, but now the Grant (be it Probate or Letters of Administration) must be submitted online, via the HM Court Service portal. (There are certain exceptions, but these depend on your individual circumstances.)
Whilst the application itself is made online, we still have to send the original will and paper copies of statements signed by the executors to the Probate Registry, as supporting evidence.
If inheritance tax is due on the estate, the relevant tax return must also be submitted to HMRC. It then communicates with the Probate Registry directly, to ensure the application is progressed.
Despite attempts at digitisation, the probate process can still be complicated and daunting, particularly in difficult circumstances, or when you are grieving. Our specialist team is here to help executors and administrators and I recommend you seek professional advice. We can determine if an application to the Probate Registry is necessary and if so, assist or deal with it on your behalf.
To find out more about administering a deceased estate, why not book a free 30-minute consultation with one of our probate specialists? Telephone (0114) 218 4000, email: email@example.com or complete this form.