What does the probate process involve?

When someone passes away, their assets and property need to be distributed according to their wishes. This process is known as probate.

Probate is a legal process that involves applying for permission to administer the estate of a deceased person.

Establishing the value of the estate

The first step is to determine whether a grant of probate is required.

This will depend on the value of the deceased person’s estate and whether they left a Will.

If the estate is worth more than £10,000 and the deceased left a Will, a grant of probate will be required.

If the estate is worth less than £10,000, or the deceased did not leave a Will, a grant of letters of administration will be required instead.

Application forms

Once it has been determined that a grant of probate is required, the next step is to complete the application form.

This form will need to be signed by the executor or administrator of the estate and submitted to the Probate Registry along with the original Will (if there is one), an official copy of the death certificate, and the application fee.

After the application has been submitted, the Probate Registry will review it to ensure that everything is in order.

If there are no issues with the application, the grant of probate will be issued.

This will give the executor or administrator the legal authority to deal with the deceased person’s assets and distribute them according to the terms of the Will.

If there are any issues with the application, the Probate Registry may request additional information or documentation.

This can cause delays in the probate process, so it’s important to ensure that everything is in order before submitting the application.

After the grant of probate has been issued, the executor or administrator needs to liquidate the deceased’s assets, settle any liabilities and inform HM Revenue & Customs HMRC of any Inheritance Tax, Capital Gains Tax or Income Tax that is due to or from the estate.

Then estate accounts can be prepared for any payments going into and out of the estate. After these steps have been made, there should be a final balance which is then distributed among the beneficiaries in line with the deceased’s wishes.

This can be a complex process, especially if the estate is large or if there are multiple beneficiaries.

For help and advice related to private client services, contact Gemma Hughes on gemma.hughes@mackrell.com or at 020 7240 0521.

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Gemma Hughes
Gemma is a Senior Associate and Head of the Private Client Team at Mackrell.Solicitors.  Her practice focuses on estate administration, Wills, trust administration and Court of Protection work.