Probate in England and Wales
When someone dies, you will need to get the legal right to deal with their property, money and possessions (their ‘estate’). The process of obtaining Probate involves a significant amount of legal, administrative and tax work. In order to obtain the pertinent document establishing such legal right in England or Wales, an application will need to be made to the Probate Registry (Court). Once granted, the document enables an appointed person to deal with any assets, property and money that the deceased person owned.
Basic process in probate
To give you an idea, most cases follow the same basic process:
1. Check if there’s a will (this normally states who sorts out the estate).
It is very important to make sure whether or not there was a Will. The Will usually outlines who will be the Executors and the Beneficiaries. If there is not a Will then it is the Intestacy rules that will determine who the beneficiaries of the estate will be.
2. Apply for a Grant of Representation / Letters of Administration (this gives you the legal right to access things like the person’s bank account).
3. Pay any Inheritance Tax when it is due.
4. Collect the estate’s assets (for instance, money from the sale of the person’s property).
5. Pay any debts, (for instance, unpaid utilities bills).
6. Distribute the estate (this means giving any property, money or possessions to the people entitled to it, known as `beneficiaries’).
This process can take months and can have serious repercussions if mistakes are made. Contact our friendly probate team to see how we can help you with the probate process.
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