22nd FEBRUARY 2021
Probate is only required after around half of all deaths in the UK, so the first thing you should do after registering the death is figure out whether you need to apply or not.
When is probate required?
Probate is generally required for larger, more complex estates that contain solely owned property and bank accounts. If your loved one’s estate is valued at less than £5,000, it is likely that probate is not needed.
Every bank and financial institution has a different threshold for how much money they can release from a deceased person’s account without needing to see a grant of probate. This can vary from £5,000 to £50,000 so it’s worth contacting the organisations to figure this out before you decide whether you need to apply for probate or not.
If the property included in your loved one’s estate was owned with a joint tenant such as a spouse, it will automatically be passed onto the surviving owner and probate will not be required. However, if the property was owned solely by the deceased, probate will be required to sell or transfer it to the beneficiary listed in the will.
What happens if probate is required, but I don’t apply?
There is no way around probate if you want to access the funds from someone’s estate after their death. If you do not apply for a grant of probate, all funds will be frozen. This means that no assets from the estate can be sold or transferred to the beneficiaries.
Though it may not affect you immediately, not administering your loved one’s estate could cause significant issues in the future. If your spouse made you the executor of their estate but you refuse to apply for probate after their death, your children may have to deal with two lots of probate after you die in order to access the property and funds that are owed to them. Probate is already an extremely taxing process after the death of a loved one, so doubling the responsibility for your children could make their lives extremely difficult after you pass.
At Kwil, we understand that the probate process is time-consuming and complicated. If you are unable or unwilling to apply for any reason, you might benefit from some professional help. We offer a fixed-fee, full estate administration service whereby we can obtain your grant of probate for you and deal with the entire estate administration in your place. You can pay for this service using funds from your loved one’s estate, and rest assured that there will be no hidden costs.