Simply put, probate is the process whereby someone’s debts and their property are held in their name whilst being transferred to heirs or beneficiaries, in most cases, an immediate family member.
The process begins when a petition is filed with the probate court to appoint an administrator of the estate.
Here is a short video explaining what probate is.
Ordinarily, after swearing an oath, the Grant Of Probate will be received in 3-4 weeks. After that, the rest of the probate process will take a further few months to reach completion. The majority of cases are completed start to finish in 9-12 months unless it’s a particularly complicated estate, or a contentious probate, which could take several years.
The purpose of a Grant of Probate is to ensure whoever was named the administrator of the estate will oversee certain proceedings in the event of someone’s death. The administrator is ultimately responsible for collecting the assets, paying any outstanding debts, and distributing the assets to the beneficiaries.
However, there are times when Probate solicitors might be required, particularly if it’s a complicated estate to administer.
The Lasting Power of Attorney (or LPA) is a legal document allowing someone over the age of 21 to appoint one or more persons to act on his or her behalf should, one day, mental capacity be lost.
An LPA protects your interests, enabling you to pick a trusted proxy to deal with your affairs should the need arise. Having an LPA in place means saving loved ones from the stress of having to apply for a Deputyship order should a loss of mental capacity occur.
The short answer is, usually.
Inheritance tax is the tax on the estate left after somebody dies. Currently, UK Inheritance tax is at 40 percent, but if the deceased’s estate is worth less than £325,000 (650,000 for a married couple) than nothing has to be paid at all.
Neither does the tax have to be paid if the spouse or civil partner is left everything. Also, if the deceased has given money or property as a gift during their lifetime this might also be exempt, so long as it complies with HMRC’s regulations.
Capital Gains Tax is the tax paid when an asset that has increased in value is sold or disposed of. It’s the gain that’s made that is taxed, as opposed to the amount of money you receive.
Some assets, however, are tax free, and you don’t have to pay Capital Gains Tax if your yearly gains are under your tax-free allowance.
If you’re the executor you can apply for probate personally, or have your probate solicitors do it for you. Before your application, you’re obliged to estimate and report the estate’s value.
The probate registry will issue a Grants of Representation, a document that gives you the right to deal with the deceased’s estate. The probate registry will then issue a Grant of Probate to the executor.
The short answer is No.
You can use a probate specialist, who is often cheaper than a probate solicitor. Or you can do it yourself.
DIY probate is something many people consider, and it is possible to do it yourself if the process isn’t too complex. You would, of course, save money, but you’d also create a lot of work for yourself. A fixed fee solicitor might be the answer.
This means being able to manage your probate costs, as a fixed fee solicitor forfeits the usual hourly in favour of a price for each step of the process. For many, an easier prospect than DIY probate.
Estate Administration is, ultimately, the process of collecting and managing the estate, paying any outstanding taxes or debts and distributing the remaining property to the heirs. It is the named executor who will be expected to learn about Estate Administration and carry out these tasks.
So, how long does probate take after swearing oath? Expect it to be a 4/6 month process at least, and be prepared for it to take as long as a year.
The UK Care Guide has partnered with Trust Inheritance, one of the UK’s leading probate specialists, to bring you a cost-effective and premium level probate service. Trust Inheritance have won awards for their customer service and this is a key reason as to why we have partnered with them.
We realise that for many it is essential that probate is completed quickly. That is why their dedicated service is designed to speed things up as much as possible for you and consequently reduce the time it takes for probate to be completed.
The support can be broken down into 3 options. This allows you to choose how involved you want to be in the probate process and how much support you want. This really is one of the most flexible services that we have seen.
This option allows those who want to do as much as they can themselves, safe in the knowledge that there is a specialist on hand to help throughout the process.
This is an in-depth, comprehensive, online ‘Do it Yourself’ service, giving you everything you need to ensure you have dealt with the estate in line with your responsibilities and liability as a personal representative; while being supported throughout by our award-winning team of specialist Bereavement Advisers.
This toolkit can be used whether a Grant of Representation (also known as the Grant of Probate, Administration or Confirmation) is required or not, even if a Will was not left.
This option would suit someone who is busy with work or family life and still wishes to retain control of dealing with the estate. It would also suit those who are not familiar or confident with legal documents.
In addition to all the benefits of those in option 1 above, we will also Fast Track the Grant of Representation application.
As we are a Trust Corporation, less information is required by the Courts when we apply for the Grant on your behalf.
This means Court fees are reduced saving money against the estate and crucially, the Grant is expedited and issued within weeks of application, rather than months; quickly freeing up funds to cover costs and expenses, as well as allowing interim payments to be made to those who are due to benefit much sooner.
This option is ideal for those who do not feel comfortable with the processes and what is involved when dealing with an estate, or for those who simply do not have the time available to them.
Simply hand everything over to a specialist. You will be assigned a Solicitor, who will deal with the entire matter for you and will be on hand throughout. They will cover everything needed in order to finalise the Estate Administration and to ensure your legal responsibilities are adhered to.
You may already know which of the three options is best suited to your circumstances. However, we also recognise that this is likely a difficult time for the family and that you may not know what you want to do.
Therefore, please do get in touch for a free consultation to talk you through what you need to do next and what help they can provide.
Speak to someone to get the support and help you need with probate. Here is how:
The cost will depend on whether you use a probate solicitor, probate professional or a bank. The cheapest is a probate professional. For it to be done properly the costs can typically be anything from £1,000 upwards.
Firstly, you are able to undertake the probate process yourself. However, most people prefer to get help. You can approach a solicitor or probate professional. The bank can help but they tend to be very expensive. We work with Co-op Legal Services if you need help to do things quickly and cost effectively.
The threshold for Probate is usually around £15,000. However, this depends on which banks and financial institutions are holding the deceased person's assets. Therefore we recommend you seek legal advice to check whether or not Probate is required.
There is no fixed time for the probate process. However, it would typically take between 6 and 12 months. But there are many factors that impact this and when any potential inheritance is released. You can read more about these factors on our site.
When someone passes away, it is not automatic that you need to go through a probate process. Estates that have a low value or are made up of assets that were jointly owned do not always require probate.