What is probate and when you do need a probate specialist?

What is probate?

Probate is the legal and financial process involved in dealing with the assets of someone who has died. This formal grant of representation is required when someone dies who has significant assets which need to be realised, with the executor of the will being required to apply for Probate before they can deal with the gathering in and distribution of any of the deceased’s assets.

When do you need to apply for probate?

You will need to apply for a Grant of Probate if the deceased leaves at least one of the following:

  1. Stocks or shares
  2. Property or land in their name

If the assets in the estate are comprised of cash only, the bank or building society will advise as to whether they require sight of a Grant of Probate before closing the accounts.

If this property was held in joint names with a spouse or civil partner the executor will not need to apply for probate, but in all other situations the grant of probate will be required before distribution of the assets.

The probate process

The probate process can be broken down into five different phases, these are:

  1. Determining the value of the deceased’s estate.
  2. Paying any inheritance tax due on the estate.
  3. Applying to the Probate Registry for a Grant of Representation.
  4. Collecting the assets of the estate and paying any unpaid bills.
  5. Distributing the estate.

Although the process seems quite simple when broken down, each part of the process is fraught with complex laws and tax obligations which, if not followed correctly, will lead to the distribution process being incredibly stressful and potentially costly.

How can a probate specialist help you?

Probate specialists are able to advise you regarding the laws surrounding probate, estate administration and the actions required throughout the process. Their expertise allows them to deal with the matter as quickly as possible and leave you free from the worry of unexpected bills or nasty surprises as a result of not following the legal aspects correctly.