What Is A Grant Of Probate?
A grant of probate is a document that shows that you are legally entitled to deal with the estate, for instance with banks, pension companies and official bodies. It allows you to administer the estate and ultimately distribute it to the beneficiaries.
Is A Grant Of Probate Always Required?
In some circumstances, no grant of probate will be required, usually where the estate is very small. This might occur, for instance, if any property and bank accounts are owned jointly (and pass by survivorship). However, banks and other bodies may have their own rules about whether they demand a grant of probate.
Who Can Apply For Probate?
If there was a will, the executor named in the will should apply for a grant of probate. If there was no will (or if you cannot find a will), then someone will have to apply for a grant of letters of administration. That person is usually the next of kin, such as spouse/civil partner or child. They will be known as the administrator (not executor).
What Does Probate Involve?
The process involves working out what is included in the estate, valuing the estate, paying any tax due on the estate, paying any debts owed, and then distributing the assets to the beneficiaries.
Do I Need A Probate Lawyer?
Many people act as the executor of a relative or friend without involving a lawyer. It requires someone who is good with administrative tasks and more importantly has got the time required.
If you do instruct a lawyer, their fees can be paid from estate funds. You may wish to instruct a lawyer if:
- You are grieving and cannot face completing the probate process as well
- Full-time work means you won’t have the time required
- You do not want the responsibility
- The estate is complicated
- You need help with post-death tax planning strategies, varying the will, etc.
Our fees for obtaining a grant of probate and submitting the simplified inheritance tax form (IHT 205) are £500 (ex-VAT). Our fees for obtaining a grant of probate and submitting the full estate form (IHT 400) are £1,000 (ex-VAT). The timescale is 2-4 weeks, depending on complexity. Our fees for full estate administration typically start from £1,500–£5,000 (ex-VAT), depending on the size and complexity of the estate. The timescale is generally 3-6 months. Probate Court fees of £155 are payable in addition (although is currently under review by the Government). If estate property needs to be sold we would engage another firm for this, and advise you of their fees beforehand.
We can advise you how to claim a tax refund if you have paid too much – especially after a fall in the stock market or property prices. Click here to learn more.
It is important to take advice about a particular set of circumstances. Call us today to discuss your situation and how we can help.
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Probate And The Administration Of Estates
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