What is Probate?
Probate is a term commonly used to describe the process of dealing with the affairs of someone who has died. That person’s estate (money, property and possessions) will need to be collected in, then debts (and any Inheritance Tax) paid and finally the remainder will then be distributed to those people entitled. In order to obtain the authority to carry out this work, it is usually necessary to apply for a legal document called a Grant of Representation.
One of three types of Grant of Representation will be issued, depending on the circumstances;
Grant of Probate: issued to one or more Executor named in a valid will, if there is one.
Letters of Administration (with Will): issued where there is a will but either no Executor is named or none can act.
Letters of Administration: issued when there is no will, or the will is invalid.
This process can either be straightforward or complicated, depending on the assets in the estate, the provisions of any will, and family circumstances.
What happens if there is no will?
In the absence of a will, a set of provisions (known as the Intestacy Rules), determines who is entitled to receive the assets in the estate.
There is a continuing responsibility and duty on the Executor/Administrator to ensure that the provisions of any will are carried out and that the beneficiaries under the will or those entitled under the Intestacy Rules receive their entitlements. There is also an obligation to identify and disclose all information relating to the assets, debts and claims against the estate, to ensure that the estate is handled efficiently and to make sure that the assets, including property, are properly managed during the administration period.
What we can do to help
We can obtain an appropriate Grant of Representation to deal with assets in the estate
Complete Inland Revenue Accounts, advise on Inheritance Tax issues and liaise with the Inland Revenue
Collect in the assets, settle any liabilities and make distributions to beneficiaries
Prepare Deeds of Variation to redirect assets and to mitigate Inheritance Tax