Following the death of your family member, there are many things that need taking care of, especially if you are the person responsible for dealing with the legal and financial aspects of their estate.
Depending on the circumstances, when managing the deceased person’s estate, you may need to apply for probate. In this article, our experienced Wills and Estate Solicitors explain when Probate is required in England.
What is Probate?
Probate is the legal and financial process of taking control of a deceased person’s estate. The estate refers to the property, money and possessions (also known as assets) the deceased person owned.
The process proves that a Will (if there is one) is valid and confirms who has legal authority to administer the deceased person’s estate.
Before the Executor of the Will or Next of Kin can transfer, sell or distribute any of the deceased’s estate they may need to apply for a Grant of Probate, which confirms the authority of the Executor to administer the estate including settling their affairs and distributing their assets.
When is Probate Required in England?
There is a common misconception that probate is not required when a deceased person left a Will.
Whether probate is required depends on the value of the deceased person’s estate, the type of assets owned and whether the assets are held in the deceased’s sole name.
Probate is required in England if:
- The deceased person left a valid will and the estate includes assets where a Grant is required by a financial organisation where the deceased held an asset (e.g. a bank account). Each financial organisation will have its own rules. The Executor of the Will need to apply for a Grant of Probate to sell the asset/close the account etc. If there is land or a house then a Grant is always needed and it is almost always needed to sell shares.
- The deceased person didn’t have a will. The closest member of the family according to the Intestacy Rules may need to apply for a Grant of Letters of Administration, which allows them to take control of the estate.
Our experienced Wills & Estate Solicitors can apply for Probate on your behalf, or we can manage the complete Probate process. Contact us on 033 3344 9609.
When is Probate Not Required in England?
Probate may not be required if:
- Most of the assets in the estate such as property or bank accounts are jointly owned with the deceased’s surviving partner.
- The estate is small (usually up to the value of £5,000) and doesn’t include land or property.
Who Can Apply for Probate
The person dealing with the deceased’s estate is called either an Executor or an Administrator.
An Executor is the person named in the deceased’s Will as responsible for dealing with the estate. They may have to apply for Grant of Probate to issue them with legal authority to deal with the estate.
An Administrator is the person responsible for dealing with the deceased’s estate under certain circumstances. For example, if the person died without a will or the named Executors aren’t willing to act. Before they can deal with the estate they must apply for the Letters of Administration.
For further information please read our Complete Guide to Probate.
Using a Specialist Probate Solicitor
Although it is not a legal requirement in England and Wales to use a solicitor for probate, it is advisable because probate can be complex, time consuming, and difficult to deal with after a family member has died. A qualified and experienced solicitor can offer expert legal advice and support at an extremely difficult time.
Contact our specialist team of Probate Solicitors on 033 3344 9609.
Wills, Probate & Estate Solicitors
Morrish Solicitors is a long-established law firm in West Yorkshire providing a range of legal services both regionally and nationally. We have a team of professional solicitors specialising in all aspects of Wills, Probate, Estate and Elderly Client Law. Our team will handle your case sensitively and provide clear, honest and professional legal advice tailored to your individual needs.
With years of experience in Wills, Probate and Estate, we can assist you on a wide range of matters including:
- Will Writing Services
- Estate Administration
- Tax Planning
- Lasting Powers of Attorney
- Court of Protection
- Care Homes
- Advice regarding Residential/Nursing Care
As members of Solicitors for the Elderly (SFE) you can have peace of mind your matter will be manage efficiently by our recognised solicitors.
For legal advice on any of the above matters please call us on 033 3344 9603 or simply email [email protected] with your request.
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