Probate with a Will
Probate is the legal proof in England and Wales to deal with a deceased persons Will. You, or your Solicitor, can apply to the UK Government for a Grant of Representation (known as Probate). In Northern Ireland it is known as Grant of Probate and the Scottish know it as Confirmation. A Grant for Representation costs £215 if the Estate is valued above £5,000, otherwise the application is free.
Probate without a Will
Without a Will, or if the Will is invalid, or if there are no Executors noted in the Will, or if the noted Executor cannot or will not act as executor, then the Next of Kin, and only the Next of Kin, can take on the duties of an Administrator of the deceaseds Estate and apply for Letters of Administration. If no Next of Kin exists then the Estate goes to the Crown.
Where No Grant is Required
Put simply, following funeral cost deductions and covering any debts the deceased has, small Estates without Land, Property and/or Shares do not require a Grant. Neither do jointly held assets, for example: property, banking, savings. Such assets pass directly to those surviving the deceased.
Where a Grant is Required
When an Estate includes Land, Property and/or Shares a requirement of the Executor dealing with the deceased persons Will, or an Estate that is in testate, is to contact the Probate Registry and obtain a Grant of Representation. This Grant can then be issued to the relevant institutions to enable retrieval of assets. If the Estate is valued over £325,000 there will be Inheritance Tax to pay; this requires addressing before Probate is granted.
Estate Items Covered in Probate
Selling land or property assets requires a Grant and the Land Registry also requires notification when transferring property.
Many Banks and Building Societies have policies in place that come into play when a deceased person?s account is of high value, over £15,000 for example, whereupon a Grant automatically becomes a requirement to close accounts or withdraw monies. A similar procedure is used for Stocks and Shares in the deceased?s name.
Any possessions over £500 require valuation by a Chartered Surveyor; these may include:
Personal items, such as jewellery
Payment on Death payments: Trusts/Pensions/Life Insurance
The requirements for Probate and application for a Grant of Representation are noted above, however, even though it is not required an Executor may act prudently and apply.