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In short, Probate is a Court Order which confirms the authority of the Executors under a Will to deal with the administration and winding up of the Estate.

In this case the Court will appoint Administrators to undertake the same job of an Executor, and the entitlement to be appointed Administrator is set out in an order of priority in the Administration of Estates Act 1925.

It is necessary in the first place to ascertain the value of the deceased’s Estate. This means writing to Banks and Building Societies etc and obtaining from them the information which is going to be needed. If there is a house, then the house and its contents will have to be valued. Once all this information has been collated, then the application for Probate or Administration can be prepared. This will take the form of an Statement of Truth and there will also be a Capital Tax Return or Statement to be completed for the Inland Revenue just to make sure that no Inheritance Tax is payable or that any tax due is paid. It can then take up to four months for the Probate or Administration to be issued.

The Probate or Administration can be used to cash any Bank Accounts etc. and to sell or transfer any house which the deceased might have owned. The proceeds from the Estate will then be applied to payment of the funeral bill and any other debts, income tax and other liabilities of the Estate. The balance then remaining can be used to pay legacies under the Will or to settle the shares of those entitled to residue.