The Future of Probate Properties in the UK: Trends and Predictions

Future of Probate Properties

There are always going to be trends in different markets and industries, regardless of how well-established those markets and industries might be. For instance, there are a number of laws and regulations surrounding probate properties which establish the process well; however, there are still changes, trends and subsequent predictions that can be made about the industry. This article is going to talk in more detail about the future of probate properties as well as contentious probate as there are many developments which are likely to occur between the end of 2023 and 2024.

What Is Probate?

Probate is the legal process that takes place after someone passes away. It involves validating their will (if they have one) and distributing their assets to the rightful heirs or beneficiaries. The will is verified and executors are appointed appropriately, any assets that make up the estate will be sold to settle liabilities, whilst other assets are passed on to the correct recipients. Probate also takes place if there isn’t a Will, but slightly differently as if there isn’t a Will in place then the individual is said to have passed away intestate, which means that the court will be responsible for appointing an administrator to see over the estate. Laws of intestacy will be applied to work out who will be rightly inheriting within the estate.

What is Probate Property?

Probate property doesn’t just apply to houses but instead applies to any assets which make up the estate of the deceased. The title can apply to property which will be distributed as per that laid out in the Will; however, it will also include assets that are left by an individual who passes away without a will.

Assets which are jointly owned (otherwise known as tenants-in-common) are also subject to probate. This usually applies to the likes of real estate as a lot of people, especially those in a relationship, jointly own their properties as opposed to owning them individually.

That being said, not all assets will pass through probate as those with a beneficiary designation will simply pass directly to whoever that beneficiary is outside of the probate process. This tends to apply to the likes of life insurance policies and retirement accounts.

Examples of Probate Property

There are many different assets which are subject to probate. Essentially, they will be subject if they are titled in the name of the person who has passed away and are not jointly owned, not payable on death and do not have any kind of beneficiary designation. It’s worth noting too that assets which are left out of a trust are also always subject to probate.

Some of the most common examples of probate property include:

  • Jewellery
  • Real Estate
  • Stocks and shares
  • Bank accounts (and other financial accounts)
  • Vehicles
  • Collectables
  • Business assets
  • Personal property

Overall Trends Throughout the Market

On the whole, the market value of the wills, trusts and probate sector increased by a moderate 4.3% throughout 2021, which means that there were a lot more probate properties available and more sales going through. 2022 also saw a growth of 5.2% which means this positive trajectory isn’t showing any means of slowing down anytime soon. In fact, the market as a whole is expected to continue to increase by an average of 4% every year. Work involving probates is also going to increase as a result, which includes the likes of valuing properties, selling them and also settling any disputes which may arise throughout the probate process.

The Value of Estates

Another common trend that we are seeing is that the value of estates is steadily decreasing. This is interesting when the rate of inflation and general price of things is considered, people would expect estates to increase in value as opposed to decrease. As of 2021, the average estate was worth about £167,000. This number decreased by £13,000 in 2022 and is currently sitting at about £154,000. There is a clear trend here which shows that the value of probated estates is starting to decrease about 45% of estates are now worth £50,000 or less, which is a 5% increase from 2021.

Death Rates

2020 recorded the highest number of deaths in total since 1838. The global pandemic impacted a large number of people and this can be seen in these death rates given one in eight of the deaths was due to COVID-19, in fact, COVID was the leading cause of death in both 2020 and 2021. Other common killers include the likes of heart disease, stroke and lung cancer, and even though these were overshadowed by COVID-19 throughout these years, deaths caused by them are still 10% higher than they were in the years prior to the pandemic.

Increased Use of Technology

Technology is now used a lot more frequently in various markets and as such, it isn’t surprising to hear that it is also being used a lot more when it comes to probate. Granted, the Wills and Probate sector has been relatively hesitant to change but the pandemic forced an increased reliance on technology for law firms and other organisations involved in the process. It means that not as many face-to-face appointments take place, there are video wills available and different documents can be signed electronically (which used to have to be done in person). Given the convenience and efficiency that comes with the increased reliance on technology, it is hardly a surprise that this is a trend we are likely to see only be used more.

Do You Need Help with Probate?

If you currently need assistance with probate and the probate process as a whole then there are experts on hand who are willing to help. At Probates Online our team is on hand to provide you with any assistance you need and can also simply provide advice if you need it. Should you have any questions or if you require any further information then please do not hesitate to get in touch