Wills and Probate: What You Need to Know

Most of us know the importance of having a will in place once we pass away. What some may not know is what actually happens when a will’s appointed executor begins the process of progressing with a will’s instructions.

This process is formally known as probate, and is usually nothing more than a formality, designed to ensure that everything is in order and that a regulated process is followed in the process of assets being distributed. If you’re interested in learning more, keep reading.

The Definition of Probate

The term specifically applies to those residing in England and Wales. Probate is the term given to the process of dealing with the legal and financial issues surrounding the deceased’s estate.

Before the named executor of the will can begin claiming, selling or transferring assets, probate may need to be formally applied for. Once the application for probate has been granted, the executor can begin processing the will in accordance with its content. Those who have died without a will, will have their assets divided by the state in accordance with the law.

The Probate Process

The process is quite in depth and features several different phases. Each phase is designed to satisfy a different part of the law. A summary of the process is:

  • Identifying all of the deceased’s assets including property, savings and investments as well as their liabilities which will include any money they owe. The purpose here is to define the total value of the estate.
  • The next step involves paying inheritance tax to HMRC when applicable and submitting the right inheritance tax return. At this point, a Grant of Representation can be applied for which confirms the legal authority to begin administering the estate.
  • Once this grant has been issued, the executor can then begin to sell assets to pay any outstanding creditors. If any inheritance or capital gains tax is due, this will need to be paid at this point.
  • The next step is to then prepare estate accounts which will detail the total amount of money that has gone into or moved out of the estate. These accounts should be approved by the will’s executor.
  • Finally, and in the event of no restrictions being imposed, the balance of the estate can be distributed to the beneficiaries named.

When is Probate Required?

Probate will always be required when a person dies owning a house or land. It will also be required if the deceased’s financial institutions request a Grant of Representation due to their former client owning a defined level of assets.

Hire a Probate Solicitor

The process of going through probate can be quite involved at times. To make this process easier, we always recommend appointing a suitable solicitor or law firm on your behalf. If you’re yet to write a will, will writing services in Nottingham can be made use of to ensure that your wishes are detailed within. The costs for this service will vary but will be explained to you during your consultation.

The death of a loved one can be a difficult time but always remember there is help at hand to oversee the process.

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Jovany Maxwell