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What does the probate process involve?

When someone passes away, their assets and property need to be distributed according to their wishes. This process is known as probate.

Probate is a legal process that involves applying for permission to administer the estate of a deceased person.

Establishing the value of the estate

The first step is to determine whether a grant of probate is required.

This will depend on the value of the deceased person’s estate and whether they left a Will.

If the estate is worth more than £20,000 and the deceased left a Will, a grant of probate will likely be required. If the estate is worth less than £20,000 it will depend on what assets are in the estate as to whether Probate will be required.

If the deceased did not leave a Will, a grant of letters of administration will be required instead.

Inheritance Tax

Inheritance tax, also known as IHT, is a tax on the estate of someone who has passed away. It is typically charged at a rate of 40 per cent on the value of the estate above a certain threshold, which is currently set at £325,000. There are also other tax allowances available which may increase this depending on who the estate is left to.

If the deceased person’s estate is worth less than this amount, then there is no IHT to pay.

However, if the estate exceeds this threshold, then the executor or administrator of the estate will need to file an IHT return with HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC) and pay any tax owed before distributing the assets to the beneficiaries.

Any IHT must be settled before beginning the probate process as this will affect the overall value of the estate and the amount distributed to beneficiaries after probate will change.

Application forms

Once it has been determined that a grant of probate is required, the next step is to complete the application form.

This form will need to be signed by the executor or administrator of the estate and submitted to the Probate Registry along with the original Will (if there is one), an official copy of the death certificate, and the application fee.

After the application has been submitted, the Probate Registry will review it to ensure that everything is in order.

If there are no issues with the application, the grant of probate will be issued.

This will give the executor or administrator the legal authority to deal with the deceased person’s assets and distribute them according to the terms of the Will.

If there are any issues with the application, the Probate Registry may request additional information or documentation.

This can cause delays in the probate process, so it’s important to ensure that everything is in order before submitting the application.

After the grant of probate has been issued, the executor or administrator needs to liquidate the deceased’s assets and settle any liabilities.

Tax from the estate

The only circumstance in which you won’t need to report the estate to HMRC for income tax purposes is if the total income during the administration process is from bank interest and is less than £500.

Estate accounts can be prepared for any payments going into and out of the estate once the amount of tax that is due has been established.

After these steps have been made, there should be a final balance which is then distributed among the beneficiaries in line with the deceased’s wishes.

This can be a complex process, especially if the estate is large or if there are multiple beneficiaries.

It can be difficult and emotional as you are also mourning the loss of a loved one. Our expert private client solicitors can offer advice during this process to help you as best as possible.

Get in touch today for more information.

Mander Hadley

Mander Hadley Solicitors is not only a long established firm, but is vibrant and successful, with a forward thinking approach.