When someone passes on, their next of kin are obligated to apply for a grant of probate. Once they have sworn the oath, it gives them a legal responsibility to handle or manage any property, assets, and cash possessions left behind. This is commonly referred to as estate administration.
The person who receives this mandate is called the executor. Besides managing the estate, the executor is tasked with tying all loose ends on behalf of the deceased. This means paying debts, paying taxes, collecting owed funds, keeping tabs on estate accounts, and distributing assets according to the will.
The probate registry handles these cases. In case of any errors in the paperwork after the probate is granted, contact them immediately.
Your first action as the executor is to collect all the assets of the deceased. This might include liquidating some assets for easier sharing.
The executor is also in charge of paying debts starting from the funeral costs to impending taxes. If this duty befalls you, make sure to consult with an accountant if there are any pending tax returns to be paid. The inheritance tax, which should be paid six months before probate, is often forgone by most people.
If you used probate solicitors, their fees are part of the debts to be covered by the estate money.
Capital gains tax accrue from the sale of an inherited estate. Usually, beneficiaries receive the property at probate value.
If they choose to sell it, they’ll pay capital gains on any increase in value from the time of death to the time of sale.
A huge step in estate administration is distributing the assets to the next of kin. It is often marred with conflict especially when the deceased never wrote a will. If that is the case, the state assumes the role of the distribution of the estate on the rules of intestacy.
If there is a Will, however, the executor can use it to share the property with the help of attorneys.
The application of probate is the easy part. The wait for money, on the other hand, can be painfully long. The duration depends on the size and complexity of the estate to be shared. Typically it can take between 6 to 12 months. The costs for probate can be met from the estate.
If it is a contentious probate, it can take even longer.
For instance, some assets might be tied overseas. In some cases, there might be a property that has to be sold. In addition, the estate itself might also be entangled in legal issues that need solving before distribution. All these factors make it difficult to have a fixed waiting period.
There’s a lot of information out there that can guide you on how to conduct the probate process.
However, be careful since probate cases often get rather complicated. Statistics show that a large number of executors have breached fiduciary duty when executing probate without a professional’s help.
On the other hand, probate solicitors fees are quite high. Most solicitors charge from 3% to 5% of the total value of the estate including tax. This allows them to gain more than they would if they charged a fixed fee.
However, using Probate specialists can often be cheaper as they charge between 2.5% and 5% and provide more or less the same service to that of a solicitor.
You can consider a specialist if:
• The estimated value of the estate is more than the inheritance tax threshold. Currently, the threshold lies at £325,000.
• There is no will left or when the legitimacy of the will is in question.
• Some portions of the estate are held in trust.
• The estate is declared insolvent/bankrupt
• Foreign assets are involved.
• The deceased lived outside the UK for tax-related reasons.
A settlement agreement is a legal agreement between the heirs regarding how the estates will be shared amicably. It helps the executor to control when and how the beneficiaries receive the inheritance. It also protects them from creditors and unwanted expenses.
This agreement will also come in handy when a will is challenged or when the deceased did not prepare any. For the latter, the beneficiaries have a say in how the assets are divided rather than letting the government handle it as the law dictates.
Probate is granted when a person has died. Lasting Power of Attorney (LPA), on the other hand, applies when the person is still alive but has no mental or physical capacity to make decisions on his own.
In the case of death, the individual with the Lasting Power of Attorney will have to relinquish his powers to an executor of probate.
A grant of probate is usually revoked when a will is discovered after probate had already been issued. This is done by the registrar in the probate office or district judge.
An exception is usually made when the deceased codicil is discovered after the grant is issued. In this case, revoking is not necessary as long as the executors in both documents are the same.
To avoid lengthy processes at the probate office, it is important to find the will or codicil of the deceased before you apply for probate.
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.