Probate is the word used to describe the legal and financial process involved in dealing with the assets (property, money and possessions) of someone who has died.
It also refers to the legal document needed by the next of kin or executor named in the will to prove their entitlement to deal with, collect in and finally distribute, the deceased’s assets in accordance with the will, or intestacy rules if there is no will.
GA Solicitors’ experienced and accredited probate team will explain all procedures in simple terms and without jargon. We’ll guide you through every step and ensure you never feel out of your depth.
When is probate needed?
Probate is required where:
- There is a property (houses, buildings or land) owned by the deceased
- There are banks or other financial institutions holding accounts (It’s worth noting that banks often set their own limit over which probate is needed so check with the individual institution)
- There are shareholdings
- There are foreign assets
- There are trusts in the will
What is the probate process?
The probate process is often complicated as it includes legal, tax and financial aspects.
There are seven main stages:
Stage 1: Valuing the estate
Identifying and valuing the deceased’s assets and liabilities (debts) in order to calculate the value of the estate
Stage 2: Checking who is to inherit
Checking the validity of any will and confirming those who are to inherit under the will, or in accordance with the intestacy rules if there is no will.
Stage 3: Paying taxes
Calculating and paying inheritance tax if applicable, and submitting the correct inheritance tax return (required whether or not there is tax due)
Stage 4: Applying for probate
Then applying to the probate registry for the Grant of Probate (or Letters of Administration if there is no will) therefore confirming the executors’ legal authority to administer the estate.
Stage 5: Collecting in the estate and paying liabilities.
After the probate has been issued the deceased’s assets must be liquidated or transferred and their liabilities and estate expenses paid.
Finalising any inheritance tax due and finalising and paying any income tax or capital gains tax due to or from the estate.
Stage 6: Estate accounts
Preparing estate accounts to show all payments in and out of the estate, and the balance left for distribution to the beneficiaries. These accounts are approved by the executors so that there is a clear record for all as to how the estate has been dealt with.
Stage 7: Distribution of the estate
If there are no challenges to the will or other complicating factors preventing distribution at this stage, the final steps will be transferring assets to beneficiaries if they wish to retain them, and distributing the balance of the estate.
Estate administration is not a reserved legal activity which means that unregulated providers can offer estate administration services regardless of whether they are insured, experienced or qualified.
Our experienced and qualified staff at GA Solicitors will ensure that any complicated procedures are explained in simple terms and without jargon and all work undertaken professionally.