One of the duties that may fall to you after the loss of a loved one is applying for probate, and this week, Prestige Tax and Trust Services explains how to apply for probate in England.
What is Probate?
Probate is the legal term for the right to deal with the estate (property, money, possessions etc.) of a person once they have passed away.
Probate is only needed to grant the right to administer the deceased’s estate, in situations where they have not named an executor of said estate in their will, or where they have not made a will.
How to Apply for Probate in England
If you need to apply for probate to gain the right to administer a deceased party’s estate, and you are living in England, like in the rest of the UK, once you have confirmed that no executor has been named in their will, and if you are next of kin, you can apply for a ‘grant of representation,’ also known as a ‘grant of probate.’ This will give you legal access to the deceased’s estate, i.e. their bank account.
To apply for a grant of representation, there are four steps you need to take:
1) Fill out a probate application form.
2) Fill out an inheritance tax form. At this point you need to work out the worth of the estate in question and depending on its value, there may be a legal requirement for taxation (usually inheritance tax only applies to estates whose worth eclipses £325,000). Remember that you must take this step, even if you believe that no tax is owed and that usually, if inheritance tax applies, you will have to pay at least a portion of it before a grant of representation is issued to you.
3) Send your application to your regional probate registry. At this point you will need to send any supporting documents required, such as the deceased’s death certificate.
4) Swear an oath, either in front of your solicitor, or at your regional probate registry.
What Happens Once You’ve Been Granted Probate
Once you’ve been granted probate through a grant of representation, there are several steps you are legally required to take:
1) Pay Inheritance Tax: Usually, as previously mentioned, dealt with whilst applying for a grant of representation, and once due tax has been paid, the grant allows you to collect the deceased’s assets.
2) Collet the Assets: Receive ownership of the deceased’s estate i.e. money from the sale of their property.
3) Settle Debts: Pay off any outstanding debts i.e. unpaid utilities bills, mortgage etc.
4) Distribute the Estate: Give money, property, possessions etc. to the deceased’s beneficiaries (those people entitled to it)
The Prestige Tax and Trust Services Probate Team Are Here to Help
Applying for probate is a timely, and often difficult, process, which requires a certain amount of legal knowledge. This is why it is advisable that you do so through a solicitor.
Prestige Tax and Trust Services has a specialised probate service. Unlike solicitors and other legal companies, who often charge an hourly rate, we provide a fixed fee probate service, which we quote before any work is undertaken, saving you from paying the considerable fees you might otherwise pay with a solicitor or high street bank.
For other relevant articles please visit the Prestige Tax and Trust Services blog.