If you have been appointed to be the executor of someone’s estate, you’ll probably be required to go through the probate process – but not always, as there are some instances where probate is not required. Looking at this issue, Prestige Tax and Trust Services asks: when is probate not necessary?
You will be required to apply for a grant of probate, to gain the right to administer the estate of the deceased. To complete this process, you’ll need to fill out the relevant probate forms, and value the estate for inheritance tax purposes, and after probate is granted, you’ll receive the grant of probate in the post within 10 working days, after which you need to swear an oath at the probate office.
Only when you have completed the process described above will you receive probate, after which you can begin managing the estate. This is because many financial institutions request a grant of probate, before they will release the deceased’s funds. We should note that the cost of probate is currently £215, however the government is planning to usher in changes which could raise this cost significantly. You may want, therefore, to find a way to avoid probate, to leave more money within the estate.
It is possible to obtain the assets held in the estate of someone who has passed away, but only under certain circumstances. We should explain that you can write to each of the institutions which hold the assets which are subject to probate, to see if they’ll release them without a grant of probate. Some banks, for example, will waive the probate requirement, for accounts which hold under £5,000.
Once an asset requires probate, they all do, so you should conduct extensive research before trying to administer an estate, without a grant of probate. One area where you may have trouble is property, as unless the deceased’s property was owned under a joint tenancy agreement, which means the joint owner would take on full ownership of the property when the person dies, it will require probate.
There are some assets which will always require probate – such as stocks and share, while others such as National Savings, may not always need it. For National Savings, you may be able to access funds, as long as the accounts hold under a certain amount, most typically £5,000. In general, however, if the person died with less than £5,000 to their name, you may not have to go through the probate process.
Prestige Tax and Trust Services
It is theoretically possible to serve as the executor of someone’s estate after they die, without going through probate, but in most cases you will need it. It is wise to enlist expert aid, to ensure you can apply for probate as quickly and cost-effectively as possible, so you can ensure that the deceased’s love ones feel the full benefits of their estate. As experts in probate matters, Prestige Tax and Trust Services would be happy to help, so you can fulfil your duties as the executor of the estate.