Do I need probate? Posted by David West , 15/04/2015

Do I need probate?

Do I need probate?

The death of a loved one can be a steep learning curve for the next of kin. As well as the shock of bereavement, there can be a mountain of paperwork and affairs that need to be put in order quickly. Pension plans, tax rebates, property, bank accounts and financial affairs all have to be settled and tied up after death.

If you need to ask the question, ”do I need probate” the answer is Yes, you probably do! Unless, the death is sadly of someone so young they have not had time to establish their own financial affairs, you will probably need to obtain probate in order to deal with the estate – the term used to describe all the belongings, money and effects of the deceased. In addition if, the estate is small or the sum total of money is a small amount of cash or personal belongings or involves a property owned jointly by a spouse it may also not be necessary. It is best to check by phoning the Probate Bureau and simply asking them do I need probate before you start. We will be able to advise you over the phone or make an appointment in your own home for a trained adviser to visit.

So when do you need probate? Whenever there is property, bank accounts, stocks or shares, tax issues or the estate is worth more than £5,000, it is a legal requirement. The Probate Bureau has a network of solicitors to deal with cases that require legal representation and can deal with specialised cases such as those involving trust funds or property abroad.

Do you need probate if there is a Will? Yes, in most cases, but the type of probate will be different to that of a person who dies intestate or without a Will. The Probate Bureau can advise you and help your probate application.

Do I need probate to claim back the funeral expenses? Not necessarily. However, it all depends on the size of the estate. The most usual method of dealing with an estate is to open a designated bank account specifically to deal with all the payments and this can be used to pay expenses. The Probate Bureau can advise you and help you keep the accounts throughout the probate process.

Why do you need probate to administer your loved one’s affairs? Because it is a legal requirement that shows the banks, financial institutions and everything else that you have the legal right to be winding up another person’s affairs. All the dealings are monitored by HM Courts and Tribunal services and are overseen by the local Probate Registry. Without this safeguard it is possible that people could become victims of fraud – considering that there can be a lot of money at stake.. After bereavement, it is advisable to get professional probate advice as soon as possible to minimise this risk. You can make a start by contacting theProbate Bureau’s free phone help line, and simply asking, “Do I need probate”?

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