At F Barnes we understand that losing someone you love is one of the hardest times of your life and this is why we are committed to offering a well-organised, professional and sensitive service, to make your life easier at a difficult time.
Probate is a formal process whereby the Will of the deceased is registered and validated as their last Will and Testament. The Grant of Probate issued as a result proves the Executor has the right to administer the estate. There is also a similar process when somebody dies Intestate (without a Will) and this is known as Letter of Administration
If a person dies with less than £5,000 in bank accounts and no property it is unlikely a Grant of Probate will be required.
If a person dies with more than £5,000 in bank accounts and/or owns property it is very likely the Executor may be required to obtain a Grant of Probate in order to access the bank accounts and sell/transfer any property. Some financial institutions will allow accounts to be closed if this sum is exceeded but you will need to check with each.
5 Steps to obtaining Probate
- Make an appointment with F Barnes who will ask you to bring death certificates, pension, bank account, property deeds and the Will of the deceased so they can assess the extent of the estate and advise you on what documentation needs to be submitted to the HMRC. The legal advisor will also be able to advise you at this stage if any Inheritance Tax is likely to be payable.
- F Barnes will now notify all interested parties and ask them to verify the sums which are held by the deceased. Once all parties have verified the sums held in accounts, shareholdings etc the solicitor will draw up the documentation to be submitted to the Probate Registry.
- F Barnes will now invite the executor to approve the figures and sign the documentation. The documentation will vary depending on the size of the estate but will usually comprise of a HMRC form detailing the assets and liabilities in the estate and an Oath which the solicitor will prepare and ask the Executor to take to a independent solicitor to be sworn. The solicitor acting on the Probate cannot swear the Oath as the party must be independent but they will advise you on the process and answer any questions you may have.
- Once the forms have been signed they will be submitted to the Probate Registry. The Probate Registry will take between 2-3 weeks to process the application..
- The Grant of Probate is issued. This will allow you to close down bank accounts, sell or transfer property, pay debts/expenses and administer the funds in accordance with the deceased’s Will.
There are many practical issues to manage when someone dies which are the legal responsibility of the personal representatives.
- Whether there is a Will or not, we can help with applying for a Grant of Probate or Letters of Administration and ensure this is done in a timely fashion.
- Inform all relevant persons and organisations- Banks, Life Assurance Companies, Employers, Local Authorities, Inland Revenue, etc.
- Deal with HM Revenue & Customs once we have established whether and Inheritance Tax is payable or if any income Tax is due to be rebated to the estate.
- We can arrange to sell the deceased’s house, arrange specialist insurance whilst the building may be empty and deal with conveyancing issues on your behalf
- Prepare Estate Accounts showing who has received what
As a firm of Solicitors, our friendly straightforward advice will take account of the whole picture and provide you immediate peace of mind. We are distinguished by our friendly and approachable manner, reasonable fees and commitment to exceeding client expectations.
If you would like to learn more about our Probate services, contact one of our legal experts. We will be happy to discuss any concerns you may have and put your mind at rest at this difficult time.