What Does Probate Mean for You?
If you have recently lost a loved one, then you will understand what a difficult and stressful time it can be. In addition to the grieving process, you may be responsible for dealing with the deceased's property, assets and debts. If you have been made the executor of the will, then probate is a term you'll hear a lot. But what is it, and how does it impact you?
What is probate?
In general terms, probate is the legal process an executor of a will may have to go through before they can begin sorting out the affairs of the deceased and splitting any assets between those who have been nominated by the deceased. Property usually plays a big part in any will, and the executor will have the legal right to transfer the property over to the nominated beneficiaries or place the house up for sale if no-one has been nominated to receive it. Properties can be sold to help pay the debts owed by the deceased, so this is usually a popular option.
Do you need probate?
Sometimes, the deceased will not leave a will, the will they do leave is invalid, or those that have been named as executors are unable or unwilling to perform their duties. If this is the case, then you cannot usually apply for probate. Instead, you will have to apply for letters of administration.
There are priority guidelines that govern who can apply for the process. The legal partner of the deceased will be given top priority, followed by children, grandchildren and other relations.
Probate or letters of administration will always need to be sought if the estate includes a house or a flat. However, if you are nominated as the person to receive the property and you would rather sell it to help pay off the deceased's debts, then you can do so quickly and easily through a reputable company property buying company like Probate Purchasers.
Applying for probate is easy, but you do not need to do so if the estate is just made up of notes, coins and personal possessions, the deceased jointly-owned property or bank accounts with their partner, the estate is small, or the estate is not big enough to pay off debts.
What does it mean for me?
If you wish to apply for probate on an estate valued over £5,000, then you will have to submit a £215 application fee to the Courts and Tribunals Service, and you also need to submit an Inheritance Tax form and a copy of the will to a Probate Registry.
Remember, you can refuse to fulfill your duties as an executor. If you wish to do this, make sure you tell the Probate Registry so that other friends or family members can apply to take on the duty.