The Probate Process – When Do You Need Probate ?
We specialise in all aspects of probate, and as such if you need help obtaining probate then we can help. We always act on a fixed fee.
Getting started with probate is often difficult with all the differing terminology, and so we have set out below, a quick summary of what you need to know.
What is probate ?
Probate is simply the legal term given to the process that is followed after someone has died. The Probate Court ( called the probate registry ) issues a legal document known as a Grant of Probate this then enables the deceased persons assets and liabilities to be administered, and collected.
Will I need probate ?
It varies and depends upon the persons assets, you will always require probate in the following circumstances :-
- To sell or transfer a property
- To close a bank account when if the balance is in excess of £25,000
- To sell or transfer shares
- To make a legal claim on behalf of an estate
Typically, if someone had assets below £15,000 then probate would not be required, as most banks will often release funds to the executor on completion of a small estates form.
Who applies for probate ?
The application is made in the name of the executor when there is a will or the administrator when there is no will.
Do I have to pay inheritance tax ?
The current threshold for inheritance tax is £325,000. However all assets passing between spouses are exempt, whilst there are various reliefs that can help reduce inheritance tax. For example, there is a charitable exemption whilst a rule change a few years ago enabled a percentage of the Tax free allowance from the spouse who died first to be transferred onto the second spouses estate.
How do I obtain probate ?
We can help you obtain probate quickly, and efficiently. The process essentially involves four stages. First assessing the assets and liabilities, secondly completing the tax returns and applying for probate, thirdly collecting in all the assets and liabilities and fourthly distributing the estate to the known beneficiaries.
How long does probate take ?
It really does vary depending upon the nature of the assets and liabilities. In very straightforward cases we can obtain probate within 6 weeks whilst in other cases when the estate is large it can be several months if not more, as very often you are dependant upon third parties for example clearance from HMRC etc.
How much does probate cost ?
We offer a Guaranteed Fixed fee policy. This means that at the very beginning of the case we will confirm our costs and you will know exactly the fee that will be paid at the end of the case. No upfront costs and total clarity.