What is a Grant of Probate in the UK ?
The term probate relates to the legal process that has to be followed when someone dies. Typically, you will need probate in the following circumstances:-
- to close a bank account,
- sell a deceased property,
- obtain life insurance
- claim a death benefit under the pension policy
- to sell shares
- sell personal possessions of the deceased person eg. a car
The persons that deal with an estate if there is a will are called Executors, and they apply for a legal document ( a bit like a Certificate ) which is called a Grant of probate, it is this document that is used to administer the estate.
If no will exists the person handling a deceased persons affairs is called an Administrator, and they apply under the Intestacy Rules for grant of letters of administration.
Do You Always Need Probate ?
Probate is not always required. For example, probate would not be required if all assets held by the deceased where owned jointly or are very small, for example under £5,000. Confusion often arises as some banks have differing limits as to when they will release assets without the need for probate. What can be said however, is that probate will be definately required in the following circumstances :-
- if there is a property
- when inheritance tax is payable
- if a bank or financial institution has advised they require probate before releasing assets
- if you are making a legal claim on behalf of the estate
How Long Does Probate Take ?
Time limits vary enormously and depend upon the following factors :-
- whether you are using a solicitor
- the nature of the assets and liabilities
- the number of assets
- the nature of some assets eg. a property
- the number of beneficiaries
If probate is required for one bank account, then probate can be obtained in 5-6 weeks, however most estates if undertaken by a solicitor like ourselves can take between 12-14 weeks with larger estates often taking much longer.
Do I need legal help obtaining probate ?
Typically we find that most clients we help do so for the following reasons
- they want a specialist undertaking probate for peace of mind and efficiency
- there are issues with who inherits under the intestacy rules
- there is inheritance tax to pay
- the will is unclear
- there are a large number of assets and liabilities
- there are large numbers of beneficiaries
- avoidance of any disputes amongst family members
If you would like our help or advice obtaining probate, you can call us on 0845 269 3571 or complete our online enquiry form.