GUIDE

Guide to probate

Applying for probate can be a daunting task, but our specialists are here to make it feel simple. In this guide, you’ll find everything you need to know about going through probate and dealing with someone’s estate.

For free initial advice call our Probate advisors or request a callback and we will contact you.

Your guide to Probate

Part 1

What is probate?

A grant of probate is a formal legal document that allows the executors of an estate to deal with the banks, shareholdings and property of the person who has died. In order to apply for a grant of probate you need to submit an application to the Probate Registry.

What is probate?

Part 2

When is probate required?

Probate is usually required if the person who died had assets in his or her sole name worth over £5000, for example an ISA or shareholdings. Any property that was owned jointly can pass automatically to the survivor.

When do I need to get a grant of probate?

Part 3

Do I need to get probate if my spouse or civil partner dies?

You may need to get a grant of probate if your spouse or civil partner owned assets in his/her sole name that are valued over £5000. Anything that is owed jointly with yourself you will not need to get probate for.

Do I need to get probate if my spouse or civil partner dies?

Part 4

Can anyone apply for probate?

The people entitled to apply for a grant of probate are the executors that the person who has died has named in his or her will. If there is no will then it is usually a close family member who is able to apply, or the person who is the main beneficiary of the estate.

How do I acquire a grant of probate?

Part 5

How long does it take to get a grant of probate?

It can take anywhere between 1 and 6 months to apply for a grant of probate in the UK, depending on how complex the estate is and how many assets there are to deal with. Once you have got probate it can take up to another 6 months to close accounts, sell shares and property and deal with any outstanding taxes.

How long does it take to get a grant of probate?

Part 6

What information do you need to apply for probate?

You will need to gather quite a bit of information about the person who has passed away before you can apply for probate. This includes details of bank accounts, investments and property. Kwil is able to assist you with this and you can also use our free interactive checklist to guide you along.

What information do you need to apply for probate?

Part 7

How do I obtain a death certificate?

It is important to register the death of the person who has died at the Registry Office in the district where he or she passed away. This can now be done by appointment over the telephone, or you can attend in person. There is no charge to register a death but you should expect to pay £11 for each additional copy of the death certificate you require.

How do I obtain a death certificate?

Part 8

How do I find the best value probate provider?

There are many firms and companies that offer probate services, so it is important to shop around to get the best value for money. You will need to determine whether you want full estate administration or just some assistance to help you get the grant of probate yourself.

How do I find the best value probate provider?

Part 9

What is the inheritance tax limit for 2021?

The inheritance tax threshold for 2021/2022 has been set at £325,000 and this has now been frozen until 2026. Once the value of the estate exceeds £325,000 then inheritance tax is payable on the excess at 40%. However, it does not apply to every case and there are ways of mitigating the tax liability.

>What is the inheritance tax limit for 2021

Part 10

What are letters of administration?

A grant of “letters of administration” is the equivalent legal document to a grant of probate and applies when someone dies without a will in place. It does the same thing as a grant of probate and allows the administrators of an estate to deal with all of the assets.

What are the responsibilities of the executor or administrator?

Part 11

What is the Probate Registry?

The Probate Registry is the court that deals with all matters relating to probate and it is responsible for issuing grants of probate and letters of administration. All applications for probate are sent to the Probate Registry.

What is the Probate Registry?

Part 12

Can I deal with probate by myself?

You do not need to use a solicitor or a company to apply for probate. You are free to make an application yourself and it could save you money in doing so. Most people decide to get some assistance because probate can be a time consuming and complex process.

Can I deal with probate by myself?

Part 13

Is a grant of representation the same as a grant of probate?

A grant of representation is the generic term for any formal document issued by the Probate Registry that allows an estate to be administered. Both a grant of probate and a grant of letters of administration are also known as grants of representation.

grant of representation

Part 14

How do I find a probate solicitor?

On the Law Society website you will be able to find a list of solicitors firms that specialise in probate work. If you do not want to spend the high fees that a solicitor will charge then call us for a cheaper quote.

How do I find a probate solicitor?

Part 15

How can I get probate without a will?

If there is no will then the next of kin can apply for what is known as a grant of letters of administration. This is the equivalent of a grant of probate and will allow the estate to be administered in the same way.

How can I get probate without a will?

Part 16

How do I locate a will?

Many people will keep their will at home alongside their other important documents like passports and bank statements. Otherwise, they may choose to keep their will at a solicitors firm or at a bank. If you cannot locate a will then it is also worth doing a search against the National Will Register.

How do I locate a will?

Part 17

What are the duties of an executor?

An executor is responsible for winding up the estate of the person who has passed away. This is a fairly long task involving valuations of assets and liabilities as well as closing accounts and selling property and then distributing the money to the beneficiaries of the estate.

What are the duties of an executor

Part 18

What is a deed of variation and can I change a will after the testator has died?

A deed of variation is a legal document that allows beneficiaries of an estate to change their entitlement to any of the assets. They can be a useful tool for tax mitigation but you must make sure that they are completed within the right time frame and that you get the right advice.

What is a deed of variation

Part 19

Estate valuation – how do you value an estate?

It is important to make sure that you obtain accurate valuations for all the assets of the person who has passed away. In the case of a property, you may need to consider instructing a surveyor or an estate agent to carry out a formal valuation of the property. Banks and building societies will provide free valuations on request.

how do you value an estate?

Part 20

Debt – what happens if the deceased had unpaid debts?

The executor or administrator of an estate must ensure that all debts are paid out of assets of the estate before the beneficiaries can take their share. Beneficiaries are not liable for the debts of the person who has died.

what happens if the deceased had unpaid debts

For free initial advice call our Probate advisors or request a callback and we will contact you.