What is Probate?
Probate is a far reaching term that applies to a number of situations in the world of Wills – although in all cases the general gist of the meaning remains the same. In a nutshell though, it is a term used when someone is applying to have the legal right to deal with the affairs of a deceased person and it is also often called “administering the estate”.
There are two different types of probate and these occur when a person dies and neglects to leave a will, and when a person dies but does leave a will. In each instance, the act of applying for probate is different. When a person does leave a will, the process is a lot simpler – they simply have to apply to the Probate Registry and they are given the authority to administer the estate through a “grant of letters of administration”. With deceased people not leaving a will, the application still goes to the Probate Registry, but should the application be successful, a “grant of probate will be issued” instead.
In both circumstances, the person holding the legal right to administer the estate will be responsible for dealing with all of the affairs that the deceased person has left behind, such as bank accounts, property and other details. It is possible for more than one person to act in this role, should the amount of work be too much for an individual to cope with themselves, or when a child will be in receipt of the deceased person’s assets.
Do I Need Probate?
There are certain situations when probate is always needed, but at the same time there are a number of different situations where probate is not needed. Probate will always be needed when dealing with any shares or stocks that a person has and also when dealing with some insurance policies. It will also be needed should the deceased own a piece of land or property that is registered in their own name or as “tenants in common”. When dealing with the above aspects, most organizations will refuse to release any funds until they have seen the probate documentation. In some cases though – usually when the amounts are very small – the organization will release the funds at their own discretion.
Probate will not be needed in situations whereby the person died had less than £5,000 in their possession or, more commonly, when all of their assets are jointly owned by someone else and therefore they automatically become the co-owner’s property. This means that spouses of a deceased person usually don’t need to apply for probate for the property that they shared.
Deciding whether or not you need to apply for probate is a simple process. All you need to do is simply send a copy of the deceased person’s death certificate to the organization that holds the money you want released. They will then respond to you and let you know whether probate is required or not. If you want the pain taken out of the probate process, just contact The Probate Bureau for advice and help.