Sometimes after someone has died knowing what to do can be confusing, with a lot of the terminology often quite confusing. As a result of this, we are frequently asked about time limits and how quickly probate has to be applied for.
Do I need Probate ?
It is important to appreciate that not every case needs probate. For example, you don’t need probate if the assets are held jointly, or the value of the funds held in a bank or building society are typically less than £15,000. Unfortunately, there is no definite figure as most financial institutions have differing figures upon which they will need probate.
If you do need probate
If you definitely do need probate, then the first important time limit relates to whether the estate is likely to attract inheritance tax.
In summary, unless if the estate is over £325,000 and no reliefs apply ( such as the spouse exemption, transferable Nil Rate Band or Charity exemption ) the inheritance payable at the rate of 40% above £325,000 will be due. If this is the case, the tax return must be filed within 6 months of the date of death. Dealing with the HMRC can take time, for example they have to stamp and seal the return summary ( the IHT form 421 ) it is important that probate is applied for quickly so as not miss this deadline.
Does it matter if I don’t apply for probate promptly ?
Dealing probate in our experience always causes problems. For example, as an executor you owe a duty to the estate to deal with the estate administration promptly and if you fail to deal with estate assets then a beneficiary could always take action to have you removed if the estate is not administered according to the terms of the will. In addition, failing to notify banks or building societies can cause inevitable problems as standing orders or direct debits can continue or in the case of share companies dividends issued. Whilst we have also encountered problems with insurance companies who may question claims if they have not been notified of the death of a policy holder.
If you need advice on a probate time – please feel free to contact us for advice. You can contact us via e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org or by calling 01482 429985. We help clients across the UK.