Getting started with probate can be confusing, just knowing what to do and how to obtain probate can be difficult.
So within this article we have set out the most commonly asked questions, and answers :-
What is probate ?
Probate is simply the legal term given to the process that has to be followed after someone has died. It is undertaken by an executor when there is a will or a an administrator when there is no will.
Do I need probate ?
Whether probate is required can be confusing, and the answer very much depends upon the deceased persons assets and liabilities. The difficulty arises in so far as lots of banks and building societies have differing limits as to when they will require probate so it is sensible to simply ask the bank whether they will need probate to close the account. As a general guide you will always require probate in the following circumstances :-
- to sell a property
- to make a claim on behalf of an estate eg. a legal claim, PPI etc
- to close an account with assets in excess of £25,000
- to sell or transfer shares in excess of £10,000
By contrast you will not need probate in the following circumstances :-
- if assets are jointly held
- if there are no assets
- if a property was owned jointly
How long does probate take ?
Time limits vary considerably as to how long probate takes and much depends upon the size of the deceased persons assets. If there are lots of assets including a property then clearly selling a property can take time, which in turn will impact upon the estate being distributed. In addition, whether you seek help can impact upon how long probate will take – typically we can obtain probate within 5-6 weeks in very straightforward cases which in larger estates it can take up to 10 -12 weeks to obtain probate.
Is there a time limit ?
There is no strict time limit upon when probate should be obtained. If the estate is subject to inheritance tax, then a tax return must be filed within 6 months of the date of death otherwise fines and penalties can apply. Delaying probate can cause lots of problems and therefore we would always recommend that probate be obtained promptly.
How is probate obtained ?
Probate is issued by the Probate Court ( known as the Probate registry ) when applying it is compulsory to complete a tax return – which return is completed depends upon the size of the estate and whether inheritance tax is payable or not. The Court issue a legal document known as a Grant of probate ( often referred to as a Grant of Representation ) which when issued then enables the executor or administrator to collect the various assets.
We charge a simple fixed fee for probate – avoid hourly rates and percentages of estates.
If you need help with probate, please feel feel to call our probate helpline – we offer a free initial telephone consultation – our direct number is 0330 404 3014 or you can e-mail email@example.com -we hope we can help.