Even if a person quite close you passes on, you may still need government permission before you dive in, empty their house, and share out their possessions. That because the administration wants to see fair play.
You probably need to get a Grant of Probate, even if the person left a will where you are the sole beneficiary. However, if they did not leave a will, then you need to ask for Letters of Administration. The two processes are similar.
Circumstances When You May Not Need a Grant
Banks and other institutions will not release the assets of an estate without seeing a grant. In fact, the assets are frozen at the time of death. However they may waive this if:
1… The estate consists of savings and premium bonds
2… The estate was owned jointly with somebody else
In the latter instance, everything passes automatically to the surviving owner. However, you may still need to get permission from the banks and certain other institutions in your capacity as administrator, or executor with a grant.
Costs Attached to a Private Probate Application
There is no application fee if the estate is worth under £5,000. Above that, the fixed fee is currently £215. This buys you one official letter. You may need a few more at £1.50 each if you are writing to several banks and other institutions at the same time.
Applying for a Grant Without a Solicitor
You don’t necessarily need a solicitor to apply for a grant, although you need to be fairly computer-literate if you decide to apply on the internet. You can only lodge an application:
1… After checking you need a grant
2… If you are the spouse, civil partner or a child
3… You have reported the estate to revenue services
4… You have made arrangements to pay inheritance tax
Applying For a Grant Online
You can now go ahead and apply for probate online, provided the person who passed away lived in England or Wales for most of their life. However, you must have the original will unless your relative passed on intestate. You must also have the original death certificate in both instances.
Applying for a Grant by Post
You first have to pay the application fee to your nearest district probate registry. They will give you a reference number you enter on the form. Use Form PAIP if there is a will. If not, use Form PAIA for an intestate estate.
Complete the form and post it to your nearest district probate registry together with:
1… The original will and any additions / codicils
2… Two copies of those documents, where they apply
3… The original death / interim death certificate
private probate application
4… A letter, if the will / codicils are separated / damaged
Always remember to get certified copies of original documents before you let them out of your hands. You will need to attach scanned versions of documents listed on the form.
That’s about all there is to say about applying for probate on your own. One final word is never leave a field on a government form blank. If a question does not apply, then say so. Governments hate uncertainty especially when it comes to probate.