When it comes to applying for Probate, you may not know where to start.
Losing a loved one is always a difficult experience and the last thing you may want to think about is sorting out the affairs of someone close to you who has just died. Just Wills & Legal Services has a team of experienced probate executives and support staff to guide you through the estate administration process in a caring, professional and efficient way. Our probate service will ensure that the estate is distributed correctly and as seamlessly as possible.
What is probate?
Probate is the process of dealing with someone’s estate after they have died. The executor named in the Will collects in all the assets of the deceased and distributes them in accordance with the Will. In order to do so, the executor must first apply for the grant of probate, a legal document which gives them official authority to deal with the property of the deceased.
What should I do first?
If the deceased left a Will, it is up to the appointed executor to handle the affairs of the estate. Only the executor can apply for probate.
If there is no Will (this is known as intestacy), or if you are not sure if there is a Will, you should seek legal advice immediately. In the event of intestacy, the law sets out who is entitled to deal with the estate and the rules about how the estate should be distributed. You will not be able to obtain a grant of probate if there is no Will, but the estate can still be administered. Only married or civil partners, children and other close relatives will be able to inherit under the laws of intestacy.
In either case, Just Wills & Legal Services can guide and advise you. We also provide a free information pack which details the duties of executors and Trustees.
Why do I have to go to all the trouble of applying for probate?
There are several reasons why you may need to have obtained probate.
Certain institutions such as banks, building societies and insurance companies may require a grant of probate to release assets belonging to the deceased, particularly if the amount of money is over a certain threshold.
Probate will also be required to sell or transfer an interest in a property, unless it was owned as joint tenants with another person.
What is the probate process in a nutshell?
- Obtain the death certificate
- Locate the Will and other documentation relating to the estate of the deceased,
e.g. bank statements and pension documents
- Value the estate, apply for the grant of probate and complete an inheritance tax form
- Inform all relevant organisations about the death and close down all accounts
- Pay off any debts and claim on any insurance policies
- Work out the value of the remaining estate and distribute the assets to the beneficiaries according to the instructions of the Will
How can Just Wills & Legal Services help?
Just Wills & Legal Services can take the weight off your mind and handle the entire probate process.
- Applying for probate (or letters of administration where there is no Will)
- Collecting and transferring all the assets of the estate and paying debts
- Producing detailed accounts
- Distributing legacies
- Preparing all relevant documents
- Assessing any tax liabilities (death duties) and completing HMRC paperwork
How long does probate take?
Probate can take up to a year to complete but this will depend on the size and complexity of the estate in question. Your consultant will be in regular contact to keep you updated as to the status of your probate application and subsequently the distribution of the estate.
How much does probate cost?
The cost of probate will depend on the size and particulars of the estate. Our consultants will be able to advise further once they have obtained all the details from you.
Just Wills & Legal Services staff have over 100 years’ collective experience and possess the legal knowhow to deal with your estate in the most tax-efficient way, keeping your costs to a minimum. On many occasions we have helped families save well over £100,000 in tax.
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