Probate and Estate Administration
Losing a loved one is hard enough without having to wade through baffling legal paperwork. Whether you’d like us to deal with the whole probate for you, or just need a one-off meeting to ask questions, we’re happy to help in the way which is most convenient to you.
What is probate?
When someone dies, their estate has to be valued and distributed according to their Will (or according to intestacy laws if they died without a Will). The term ‘probate’ is generally used to refer to the process of acquiring the legal right to deal with the deceased’s estate. The process will differ depending whether or not a Will is in place:
If a Will is in place:
The Executors named in the Will should apply to the probate registry for a ‘grant of probate’. This important document is used by the Executors as proof of their right to distribute the deceased’s assets. By showing a grant of probate to banks (and similar organisations) the Executor will be allowed access to funds, which can then be distributed according to the Will.
If a Will is not in place:
A close relative may apply to the probate registry for a ‘grant of letters of administration’. Like a grant of probate, this acts as proof that the relative (known as the ‘administrator’) has authority to deal with the deceased’s assets.
Is a grant of probate always needed?
No. This is one of the common mistakes people make when administering an estate. There are two main situations where a grant of probate may not be needed:
If the deceased owned everything jointly with another person (often a husband or wife) and everything passes automatically to the surviving owner.
If the deceased left less than £5,000.
Our Probate and estate administration cases are dealt with by Anthony Harris. More information can be found by clicking here.
If you would like any help working out whether a grant of probate is needed in your case, please don’t hesitate to get in touch.
Administration of Estates Leaflet