Do you need to get probate granted?
In England, probate is the term used when someone has died and their money, possessions and any property they own has to be put in order. Probate is granted through the courts and is the first step of administering a deceased person’s estate and distributing their wealth as laid down in the will. In Scotland, probate is called confirmation.
Probate applies to the entire process of settling an estate and it also means getting the permission to be able to carry out the wishes in a person’s will.
Have you been named as the executor of a will?
If you find yourself in the position of being named as the executor for a will, then you will need to apply for probate in order to execute the wishes of the deceased. Depending on the size of the person’s estate this could seem like quite a daunting task. The more complex the assets of the deceased, the more complex the probate process.
What’s involved in probate?
Simply stated the first step of the probate process involves itemising the person’s assets, making sure any bills are paid and then, ensuring that their will is carried out with the distribution of what remains.
Who does probate?
Probate is either done by a professional probate solicitor or can be done by an individual. Many people chose to do probate themselves if the estate information is accessible and presents no immediate problems. However, if the person’s estate is tied up in multiple assets, then it is usually the case to use a probate solicitor.
What are the steps of probate?
Probate can be broken down into the following parts:
1. Valuation of the deceased’s estates and all their assets such as property, savings, investments, bonds, mortgages and business assets and many more.
2. The next step is to actually apply for a grant of probate and submit an inheritance tax form to HMRC.
3. If inheritance tax is due, one then has to pay this.
4. Then the estate has to be finally administered which in short means that any outstanding money owing is paid to the various creditors of the deceased person.
5. Lastly is the distribution of any money to the beneficiaries of the will.
How long can probate take from start to finish?
There are many factors that can slow down the probate process includes how many organisations are involved such as insurance companies, banks and building societies.
Fully managing a person’s estate can take anywhere from a few months to a few years in, depending on many factors including:
• If the finances of the deceased are in good order
• The range and complexity of assets
• If there is an active business or businesses involved
• If anyone makes a claim against the estate
• Does inheritance tax need to be paid?
People making claims against the estate can lengthen the finalisation process of the will Anyone who wishes to make a claim against an estate has up to 6 months to do so from the date that probate was granted. An estate cannot be finalised until any claims that are made against it have been received.
What kind of delays can occur during the probate process?
Delays can also be caused by disputes between beneficiaries or family members or personal representatives and these have to be resolved before the estate can be settled.
Aside from claims being made against the will, executors can run into problems which can delay the will being finalised such as:
1. Verifying that the will presented is the last the person made and making sure it was.
Sometimes there is more than one will made so the latest one must be found and used.
2. The legality of the will: a will must be signed by two witnesses who cannot be named beneficiaries of the will. A will must also be dated.
3. Needing a deed of Variation which alters the distribution of a person’s assets after their death, can lengthen the process markedly. There are specific requirements that must be met for a deed of Variation to be obtained and sometimes it is necessary to do so.
It is best to seek professional advice. Part of the probate process usually involves property valuation/s and house clearance/s. To find out how Avery Associates can help facilitate this for you, call Avery Associates on 0800 567 7769.