In certain circumstances, you may need to apply for probate, and in others, not.
People who deal with a dead person’s estate are called executors or administrators. These executors or administrators are appointed by the owner of the estate in the will. After this person dies, the executor or administrators may have to apply for legal authority to gain the ability to deal with the estate. This is called probate.
An executor is a person appointed to execute the estate according to the deceased’s wishes.
An administrator is responsible for dealing with the estate under certain circumstances. For instance – if there is no will. This administrator has to apply for letters of administration before they can deal with the estate.
Why is a Grant of Probate Needed?
A Grant of Probate is a legal document that proves that you have the authority to deal with an estate.
Organisations such as banks and buildings need to see a proof before they let the executor access the deceased’s properties like bank accounts and residences.
A Grant of Probate is also necessary to sell any of the deceased’s properties.
Who can apply for probate?
An executor named in the deceased’s will can apply for a grant of probate.
If there is no will then the deceased’s closest relatives above the age of 18 can apply to be an administrator. An administrator can also be appointed by the deceased’s closest living relative.
If there is no will, an administrator can apply for a Grant of Letters for Administration. The application process for this document is the same as a Grant of Probate.
When do you need to apply for probate?
In most cases, you may need to apply for probate. If the estate is small and simple, there is no need, but other than that, any estate will need a grant of probate to be executed.
You’ll need to apply for probate if –
- The property in the estate needs to be sold
- If banks and other organizations need to see a grant of probate before they can give you access to the deceased’s property.
How to apply for probate?
You can apply for probate yourself. The government of the UK allows you to apply either online or by post. This may be much cheaper than hiring a probate practitioner to fulfill the probate paperwork for you. However, it won’t be simple to apply for a grant of probate on your own.
The first step is to evaluate the estate and see if there’s any inheritance tax owed by the estate.
If there’s inheritance tax to pay then you must wait 20 working days after sending the tax forms to the HMRC (Her Majesty Revenue and Customs). Apply for probate after that.
Applying by post
The form you need to complete will depend on whether the deceased left a will or not.
Documents needed for applying for probate
It’s not simple to apply for a grant of probate on your own because of the documents needed.
Death Certificate – A copy of the death certificate, or the coroner’s certificate for the date of death.
Deceased’s Will – A copy of the original Will along with the codicils (changes made to the will).
Tax Returns – A completed and signed inheritance tax return, even if it has not been paid yet. Only the copy signed by the executor is needed.
Photographic ID – A certified copy of your photographic ID like a passport or driver’s licence.
Application Form – A completed application form if you’re applying for a grant of probate in person or by post. Get the application form checked by a private specialist to ensure it is complete. Incomplete details or signatures could delay your process.
Court Fee – A fee is to be paid to apply for probate. This amount is fixed at £ 275 for estates valued over £ 5,000. There is no fee for estates below this amount.
Get multiple copies of the grant of probate, charged at £ 1.50 per copy, so you can supply it to multiple organisations that ask for it.
You could need to supply additional documents like executors’ renounce of power forms, certified copies of Foreign Grant, completed Power of Attorney form, court orders, and a certified copy of controllership order.
It could be a very time-consuming process if you don’t take the help of a trusted estate planner.
How soon can I get my grant of probate or letters of administration?
There is no fixed time for you to get your grant of probate or letters of administration. The duration could vary. The government tries to set a target of ten days for granting probate.
You can expect the entire process to take a month to three months on average. It could even take longer. Apply for a grant of probate as soon as possible.
The time taken could depend on the situation like the number of beneficiaries and unprofessional executors. A delay in the valuation of assets could slow down the process.
Apply for a Grant of Probate on Time
We recommend that you apply for a grant of probate as soon as possible. If you’re unsure about the entire process, don’t hesitate to contact us.
Every case is unique. We can help you to acquire probate at the earliest.