Frequently Asked Questions About Probate in the United Kingdom

Frequently Asked Questions About Probate in the United Kingdom

People tend to have a number of different questions surrounding probate in the United Kingdom, the application process and whether or not it is necessary. Below, we will be answering some of the most frequently asked questions about probate, which will hopefully help you understand probate in a bit more detail.

For more in-depth information, be sure to get in touch with experts such as our team at Probates Online.

What is Probate?

Probate is the name which is given to the legal process involved in dealing with the estate of somebody who has passed away. There are a number of different steps which are involved in probate, and these include the likes of getting control of the estate, working out and paying the inheritance tax, which is due and also correctly distributing the assets contained within the deceased’s estate. Whoever is put in charge of the individual’s will and subsequently probate is known as the executor (these will be specified within the will). If there isn’t a will in place, then the individual in charge is called the administrator.

What is the Process Involved for Probate?

The process of probate can vary depending on what your situation is but generally speaking, it involves the following steps:

  • Make an application for a grant of probate/letters of administration in order to get control over the estate.
  • Have someone look over the estate and get it valued.
  • Work out how much inheritance tax is due on the estate and pay that amount to HMRC.
  • Sell any assets from the estate that need to be disposed of (this includes property).
  • Pay off any debts that were owed by the deceased (these include the likes of energy bills and loans)
  • Prepare estate accounts in order to show any money that has been spent from the account and paid in taxes, as well as the remaining balance.
  • Distribute the remaining assets contained within the estate to the beneficiaries that have been named in the will (or as per the rules of intestacy if there isn’t a will in place).

How Much Does Probate Cost?

The cost of probate depends entirely on the circumstances; this includes what assets are included within the estate and if any specific issues need to be resolved. There are a number of different organisations out there that will be able to help with applying for probate, so it may be worth reaching out to a specialist in order to get the most for your money as you possibly can.

Do You Need Probate If You Have a Small Estate?

There are a couple of different reasons why probate may not be necessary, and this can depend on the likes of what kind of ownership individuals have over their property and also how much the estate is worth. If the estate is dealt with once everything has been valued, is worth less than £5000, or the deceased has left their entire estate to either their civil partner or spouse, then probate is not going to be necessary. It is always worth checking this with experts in order to avoid any potential legal complications moving forward.

How Long Does Probate Take?

There are a number of different variables that can impact how long it takes for probate to be completed. In some instances, everything can be wrapped up in as quick as 6 – 9 months. That being said, there are a lot of factors that can make it so this period is longer; it all depends on how much the estate is worth and how complicated it will be to value and distribute it. If there is property involved, then this needs to be sold, and if you are doing this at a particularly poor time in the market, then it can take a lot longer than you would like.

Is There a Time Limit for Probate?

There isn’t a time limit for completing the probate process. The only deadline or imposed time limit that you need to think about is for inheritance tax. This is that any tax which is due from the estate has to be paid within six months of the death of the individual. If you have concerns that the probate process is taking too long because the executor or the administrator isn’t carrying out their duties as well as they should be, then you are able to have them replaced. It is worth noting the circumstances under which you can do this are limited, so if you intend on taking this course of action, then you should be sure to get some legal advice.

What Are My Duties as an Executor?

If you have been appointed as the executor of the will, then you may well be wondering what your duties are. They can vary depending on what the estate consists of but generally speaking, you will need to:

  • Obtain the grant of probate
  • Collect all of the assets that are included within the estate
  • Be responsible for having the entire estate valued
  • Pay any inheritance tax which is owed on the estate
  • Pay off any debts that are outstanding on the estate (such as energy or other types of bills)
  • Distribute all of the assets that are part of the estate to the correct beneficiaries as specified within the will

Speak to an Expert

When someone passes away, there is a lot that needs to be done with their estate, which can naturally confuse many people. Above are some of the most commonly asked questions when it comes to probate, but if you need more assistance, then it may be worth enlisting the help of Probates Online. At Probates Online, we have a team of experts on hand who are willing to help guide you through the probate process. If you have any questions or would like to get any more information on how we will be able to assist, then do not hesitate to get in touch.