How to apply for probate correctly!

A ‘grant of probate’ is needed in order to administer assets from a will following a death.

Before you can begin to apply for probate, you will need to appoint yourself as the deceased’s executor. In order to do this, you will need to send the original will to the Probate Office. This process can be done in one of several ways, including; using an existing solicitor that has previously prepared the will, finding a more specific probate solicitor, or simply by doing it yourself.

Estate Assessment

Before applying, you will need to assess the papers of the diseased in order to understand their assets including any potential liabilities. This may be something as simple as organising their bank and building society accounts, or a more complicated affair like properties and investments.

Following this, a certified copy of the death certificate should then be sent to each necessary establishment, in order to receive a final statement.

Valuing Property

Additional property from an estate will also need to be valued. This can be done independently, or more commonly, done via an estate agent or surveyor. The latter will make the process with HMRC less complicated, especially if they decide to object the inheritance tax (IHT) as too low, with the current threshold standing at £325,000 this is often the case and can cause obstacles.

Probate Forms

After initial assessment, the next step is to complete a probate application form.

To apply for this simply contact the Personal Application Department and you will receive a form called PA1.

Inheritance Tax Forms

The HMRC require you to complete a form in regards to any unpaid inheritance tax.

There are two options;

IHT 205 for estates bellow the IHT threshold
IHT 400 for estates above the IHT threshold

Additional details HMRC need include any cash gifts made by the deceased seven years before their death. This is important to take into consideration as it can potentially change estate value, therefore increasing the amount of inheritance tax.

Unused IHT allowance from a deceased partner or spouse can be added to their own. To claim this, executors must complete one of two forms;

IHT 217 for estates below the IHT threshold
IHT 402 for estates above the threshold

Probate Registry

Completed forms along with the original will and death certificate will then be sent to the Probate Registry. Following this, you will need to confirm that the details you have supplied are correct by taking an executor’s oath done either at the Probate Registry or solicitor’s office.

Fees

It costs £215 for a probate application. Additional copies are necessary during the administration process and generally cost around 50p.

Obtaining a Grant of Probate

Once everything is completed, and HMRC have accepted the estate valuation, the next step is to pay any due IHT in advance. With sufficient funds this can be done efficiently by arranging a direct payment to HMRC. The majority of banks accept this method of payment following receipt of the IHT 423 form.

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