20th SEPTEMBER 2021
Probate refers to the process of administering someone’s estate following their death. This might include closing bank accounts, collecting funds, distributing assets to beneficiaries, and paying off any debts still owed by the deceased.
Probate is only required following around 50% of all deaths in the UK. The most common reason why probate might not be required is that the estate is small enough for its assets and liabilities to be handled without the necessity of a legal document.
When is probate not required?
If your loved one’s estate contained no property owned solely by the deceased, or it is valued at less than £10,000, it is unlikely that you will need a grant of probate to administer their assets.
Most banks and financial organisations have a limit on how much money they can release following someone’s death without needing to see a grant of probate or a grant of letters of administration. This limit can range from £5,000 to £50,000. Following the death of a loved one, you should make it a priority to contact all financial institutions that they held money with to figure out what their accounts are valued at and whether this amount falls above or below that institutions limit. If the account is valued below the limit, you will not need a grant of probate.
Moreover, probate is not required to transfer jointly owned property to the living tenant. For example, if you and your spouse own a house as joint tenants and your spouse dies leaving you as the only living tenant, a grant of probate will not be required to transfer the property to your sole ownership.