If a person dies with assets in their sole name worth more than £5,000, then a grant of probate (if there is a will) or letters of administration (if there is no will) are needed before the deceased’s assets can be dealt with, cashed or sold.
If the deceased left a will then the person(s) named as executor(s) in the will is (are) entitled to obtain the grant of probate. If the deceased left no will then the next of kin (as defined by the law) is entitled to apply for letters of administration.
The probate administration can be divided into 3 sequential stages, dealing with all of the process from start to finish:
(A) Obtaining and collating details of the values of all the assets of the estate from all relevant parties. Typically this may involve contacting banks, building societies, national savings, premium bonds, stocks and shares valuations, insurance policies, etc.
(B) Completing probate application forms and (if the value of the estate exceeds £325,000) calculating the amount of inheritance tax due. Some of the forms it is necessary to complete are over 20 pages long and can be quite confusing to the layman. Making an application to the probate registry and dealing with any queries they may have on the application and receiving the grant of probate or letters of administration can be daunting.
Most people find this the most difficult section to deal with, so we offer a special low cost DIY option where for estates of less value than £325,000, we will complete the application and obtain probate or letters of administration for you.
(C) Registering the grant of probate or letters of administration with all banks etc. Collecting in the assets of the estate and paying out or transferring legacies and gifts to individual beneficiaries. Producing final accounts and paying main beneficiaries, dealing with deceased’s final tax return.
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