“Probate” is the term used to describe the legal processes involved after a person has died. This involves dealing with this person’s finances, property, general assets and debts. All these together form the deceased’s estate.A Grant of Probate is a Court sealed document that gives official authority to the administrator / Executor to deal with the deceased’s estate issued by the Probate Registry.

When Probate might not be needed

Sometimes probate isn’t always required. For example, it will not be required if the deceased left very modest assets, or assets were held jointly.

What Happens When you delay obtaining probate

If probate is definitely required and you are the Executor of the Estate, you must apply for probate or renounce. The reason for this is as follows :-

  • if there is an inheritance tax liability a tax return and any tax due must be filed within 6 months of the date of death
  • there is a legal requirement to notify banks of the death of an account holder
  • as an executor you owe a duty to the estate and in turn the beneficiaries, delaying probate inevitability causes frustration with the beneficiaries who could legitimately apply to the court to have you removed as an executor on the grounds that probate has been delayed
  • delaying probate in the long term inevitability causes problems. For example, we regularly encounter an executor wanting to sell a property urgently only to find out that probate hasn’t been issue
  • delaying probate can cause issues with CGT tax as often values are taken from probate documentation – obtaining probate vales retrospectively can be difficult

So in summary, always obatin probate promptly.

I haven’t applied for probate can you help ?

Sometimes, there may of course be genuine reasons for the delay in obtaining probate, and if you are an Executor or Administrator wanting help with probate when a relative or friend has died some time ago, we can help. As we specialise in probate problems, we have acted in probate applications many years after the Testator has died. Please feel free to contact Tim Murden at tim.murden@tmsolicitors.co.uk, or by calling 01482 429985.


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