What is Probate?

When is probate necessary?
There are a number of circumstances when Probate will be required:
– Bank’s or building societies can request that probate is obtained before they will allow access to accounts. Each bank or building society will determine at what value they want to set the limit. Typically this limit may range from £5,000 to £30,000.
– If the deceased held stocks and shares, regardless of the value, Probate will be required before they can be transferred or liquidated.
– If the deceased owned any property, either in their sole name or as a tenant in common, Probate will be required in order to transfer ownership of the property or to sell it as part of the estate.
In some cases the deceased may have benefitted from a Trust. If so Probate will be required.
When is probate not required?
– There are instances when Probate may not be required, typically when a deceased’s assets (money and property) are worth less than £5000. However if in doubt it is worth seeking legal advice.
A professional legal organisation like Co-operative Legal Services will handle the process of Personal Representation on your behalf.
Who can apply for Probate?
You must be in possession of a Grant of Representation to give you the authority to administer and distribute the estate of the deceased.
There are 2 main types of Grant of Representation:
o The Grant of Probate, where there is a Will
o Letters of Administration, in situations where there is no Will
Where there is a Will and Probate is required then the Executor or their nominated Personal Representative would apply to the courts for the Grant of Probate.
When Probate has been provided by the Court those named in the Grant of Probate are liable for the distribution of the deceased’s estate in accordance with the wishes of the deceased as set out in a valid will.
When there is no Will (Intestacy) then the person(s) appointed to administer the estate is known as the Administrator(s). Their appointment follows the strict Rules of Intestacy, in the following order of priority:
o Surviving spouse or registered civil partner (but not common law spouses, partners or cohabitants)
o Children
o Parents
o Brothers/sisters
o Grandparents
o Uncles/aunts
If you are unsure or have any doubts about who can administer your estate, you should seek professional legal advice to determine what needs to be done next.
How do I apply for Probate/Letters of Administration?
Consider carefully whether you want to take on the responsibilities of Executor or Administrator of the estate before you make any application to the Court. These legal, tax and administrative responsibilities can be numerous and time-consuming as well as challenging. If you are in any doubt as to your abilities to undertake such a demanding task then please get in touch with a suitable legal organisation.