Around 45% of all deaths in the UK are reported to the coroner for various reasons. If you are the executor or administrator of someone’s estate and the death has been reported to the coroner, you may be wondering how this will affect the probate application and process for you. This article will explain what the coroner’s role is and how the coroner’s involvement might impact the probate process.
The coroner is responsible for establishing certain facts about a person’s death. This might include identifying the deceased and determining when and how they died. Sometimes, this is all the coroner needs to do if the death is not unnatural, violent, or unknown. Occasionally, however, the coroner might decide that an inquest into the circumstances surrounding the death is necessary.
An inquest might be required if the cause of death is still unknown after initial investigations, if the death seems violent or unnatural, or if the person died in prison or in police custody. The coroner will need to conduct a post-mortem to gather evidence and information, but after this the body can be released for cremation or burial and the funeral can go ahead.
Inquests can take weeks, months, or sometimes even years to complete depending on the circumstances. Nevertheless, probate can go ahead in the meantime.
In most cases, the probate registry will need to see a valid, original copy of the death certificate before they can grant probate to the executor or administrator of someone’s estate. Additionally, most financial organisations will need to see a grant of probate alongside an original copy of the death certificate before they can release funds. When there is an inquest, the official death certificate is not released until it has been completed, so your probate application may be somewhat delayed.
However, the coroner will provide you with an interim death certificate that can be used in the meantime. The interim death certificate will be accepted in place of an official death certificate by the probate registry and most financial organisations, so you should be able to continue with probate as normal for the most part.
However, the interim death certificate only confirms the name of the deceased. For this reason, many pension providers and life insurance providers will need to wait to see an official one. This is because they might need to know the details surrounding the death as this can impact how much they pay out.
While this may delay the probate process somewhat, you will be able to complete every other task as normal. You can also instruct a probate specialist to deal with the estate administration for you when there is a coroner involved. Kwil offers a full estate administration service or a grant-only service on a fixed-fee basis with no hidden costs. Call us for a free quote today and we can talk you through what each service entails.