When is probate required?

Do you know when probate is required? Are you facing the death of a loved one and you’re wondering what you need to do?

Let’s walk you through what probate is and if you need to apply for it…

What is probate?

In summary, probate is the process for handling the financial and legal issues when somebody dies. It is proving that you, as next of kin or executor, have the right to claim the assets from the estate.

When is probate required?

Probate is usually required if the person’s estate includes property or substantial sums of money. If a spouse or civil partner is still alive probate may not be required, but it depends on the value of the estate, and how it is being shared with loved ones. Typically, if a person’s assets are less than £10,000 probate will not be required, but it does vary in each case, so it is worth getting advice.

What you need to apply for probate

Before you apply for probate you will need a death certificate and a copy of the Will. You will also need to have an idea of the value of the estate. You will be asked about funeral costs and any debt remaining – such as credit card balances or a mortgage. You can make adjustments later, but the estimate does need to be accurate.

The calculations you provide will give the Inland Revenue (HMRC) an indication if inheritance tax is payable on the estate. This will affect the timing of your probate application, but we would urge you to contact HMRC if you need guidance – 0300 303 0648. They have a trained team to support this process, and they are very helpful and sympathetic.

You apply for probate via the Government website, which you can access here: https://www.gov.uk/applying-for-probate

The process is completed online and if there is more than one executor the one not completing the form will be asked to confirm the details before the application can be fully submitted. Once the application is received it takes around 6-8 weeks to receive the grant of probate. Obviously, this depends on how busy they are.

You cannot sell assets such as property until you have been granted probate. Most financial institutions will not release monies until they have had sight of grant of probate, but this does depend on the organisation. Some will accept the first page of the Will.

However, it is likely that you will need to pay for certain items or services while waiting. Those include the funeral, possible property costs such as insurance, mortgage payments and so on. You should keep an accurate record of any costs you have incurred as these can be offset against the inheritance. We always recommend clients set up a spreadsheet to track everything.

The whole process of handling the estate, recovering assets, paying debts, paying out sums to beneficiaries and so on is quite a lengthy process. Typically it takes around nine months to complete, but again, this depends on the complexity of the estate, and the providers you are dealing with.

If you would like any advice on probate or have decided it is too time consuming and you would like support, please contact us on 01344 875 310.

when is probate required?