APPLYING FOR A GRANT OF PROBATE
When a loved one dies, it can be difficult to know what to do in respect of dealing with the deceased’s property, money and possessions.
If the deceased left a valid Will the Executor named in the Will can apply for a ‘Grant of Probate’; if there was no valid Will, or there are no Executors named in the Will able or willing to act, the next of kin of the deceased can apply for ‘Letters of Administration.’
You may not need to apply for Probate or Letters of Administration if the person who has died had jointly owned property/bank accounts as this will generally automatically pass to the surviving joint owner. Also if the deceased only had savings then it may be that the bank/building society do not require a Grant of Probate depending on the amount in the account. You should contact each bank to find out if they require a Grant. Each organisation has its own rules.
Only certain people can apply for Probate depending on whether the deceased person left a valid Will or not. A Will states what will happen to the person’s estate upon their death. A Will is usually valid if it is signed by the person who made it and witnessed by 2 independent people.
The law decides who inherits the estate if there is no Will and the estate will be divided according to the Intestacy Rules.
In order to apply for the Grant of Probate it is necessary to complete a form detailing some of the deceased’s personal information. You must estimate and report the value of the estate to calculate whether any potential inheritance tax may be due as a result of the deceased’s death. This documentation together with the original Will, if there is one, is sent to the Probate Registry along with the application fee. If you instruct a solicitor to obtain Probate for you then the detailed form referred to above, is not required but an oath, which the solicitor will prepare for you, which includes the personal information of the deceased and the people applying for the Grant is necessary.
There is a reduced fee to pay to the Probate Registry if a solicitor makes the application on your behalf. You also pay a fee to the Registry for each copy of the Grant you require. The number of copies you request depend on how many institutions e.g. banks etc you need to provide with an official copy of the Grant so that they can then deal with you to administer the estate.
The application fee is currently £215 if the estate is £5000 or over. The application fee is £155 if you instruct a solicitor to apply for you. There is no fee if the estate is under £5000. Extra copies of the Grant cost £1.50 each.
The Probate Registry are suffering a significant backlog of work at the moment which means that it can take the Registry some 12-16 weeks to issue the Grant from receipt by them of the application. Once received the Executors will send a copy of the Grant to each of the organisations that hold the assets of the person who died, e.g their bank, share investment company, or to the solicitor dealing with the sale of the deceased’s house.
If you wish to discuss an application for Probate give us a call on 01257 228027 and one of our solicitors will be happy to have a free no obligation chat with you.