Whether a person dies with or without a Will, the deceased's estate must go through probate. This refers to the process where the deceased's assets are valued, debts are settled, and the remainder is distributed to family members or interested parties. With testacy, the nominated executor will apply to the court for a Grant of Probate. If there is no Will, a next of kin will have to apply to the court for Letters of Administration.
If you were appointed the executor of an estate in the deceased's Will or another estate planning document, our probate solicitors can assist with estate administration efficiently and accurately, according to your loved one's wishes. We will manage the distribution of assets to beneficiaries, the selling of assets, and other matters outlined in the Will.
It is important to consult expert probate solicitors to avoid unnecessary expenses, delays and disputes among family members. Our probate team will offer clear and practical advice at every turn to help you through this difficult process.
Evaluation of UK assets and tax settlement
Before seeking probate, the executor will create an inventory of the deceased's assets and identify debts and liabilities that have to be settled. Before proceeding to probate and distribution, any tax due on the estate, such as inheritance tax, must be paid to HMRC.
As well as inheritance tax, there may also be capital gains tax and business property relief to be considered when dealing with an estate. Speak to our probate solicitors today.
In order to commence probate, the executor must obtain a Grant of Probate from a court to the effect the Will is recognised as legally valid. Once established that there is a valid will, the executor can begin the process of distribution.
Probate will always be required where:
- real property, such as a house, is concerned (however, if there is no real property and the entire estate passes to a surviving spouse, no Grant of Probate is required); and
- cash value of less than £5,000 is concerned.
The effect of granting probate is to provide legal authority to access the deceased’s bank accounts. This is important where the costs of a funeral need to be met.
Appointment of alternative executor
An executor may be chosen to handle the estate's administration on their own or in collaboration with a second person as joint executors.
If an executor feels like they cannot fulfill the task the second executor, or another person chosen at that point, can take over.
Obtaining probate in intestacy
If an individual dies without a Will, or the Will is found to be invalid, or no executors are named, their estate will fall into intestacy.
In these circumstances, a next of kin can apply to court for grant of Letters of Administration. The person to whom the court grants Letters of Administration is known as the administrator. Eligible relatives to serve as administrator follow a priority order:
- the married or civil partner of the deceased;
- a child of the deceased;
- grandchild of deceased;
- parent of the deceased;
- brother or sister of deceased;
- nephew or niece of deceased; and
- any other relative.
To be finally approved for probate, the probate registry requires an interview to assess the fitness of the nominated executor. Our probate and estate administration lawyers can help guide you through this process.
If a mortgage on real property is inherited, either the mortgagor will require repayment out of the proceeds of the estate or the individual inheriting will have the mortgage transferred to their name.
If the value of the state is lower than £5,000, no fee is required for applying for Grant of Probate. Above this amount, the fee is £215. Lower income individuals can have their fee reduced or waived.
If you want to know more about the probate process, please read some of our wills, probate and estate administration content here:
- Probate without a Will: Who inherits and who can administer the estate?
- What happens after you've applied for probate?
- Probate and Executors: 3 things you should know
- Do Executors get paid?
- Digital Assets and Probate - What you need to know
- The essentials of dealing with debts as an Executor
- Declarations of Presumed Death - What are they, and when are they used?
- Statutory Wills - what are they, and when are they used?
Contact our Wills and Probate Solicitors London
We are prepared to handle every type of estate administration case, from the smallest to the largest of estates.
The probate solicitors at Lewis Nedas offer a tailored, focused review of your family circumstances in order to determine how best to navigate individual relationships and appoint effective administration of your estate.
We provide the utmost professional service to our clients at a difficult time, offering first-class advice from our experienced probate department.