Probate can be a confusing and complicated process that can be difficult to understand. Whether that is understanding what probate actually is or when you need it and what probate is used for.
Probate is the process of administering the legal right to deal with the property and estate of someone who has died and gain legal certification in order to prove you have the right to do so.
Only certain people can apply for probate and the people who can apply depend on whether there is a Will currently in place or not. Throughout this article, we will explore the factors on when you should apply for probate and when you do not need to apply for probate.
Probate is the legal right to deal with someone's property, possessions or money, known as their estate, when they die. Probate is the process of proving that a Will is valid and is used to confirm who has the authority to administer the estate and assets of the person who has died whether that be their possessions, money or property.
Before the executor, who is named in the Will or the next of kin when there is no Will, can claim, sell, distribute or transfer any of the assets they may have to apply for a grant of probate. A grant of probate is a legal document that is needed in order to grant allowance to the deceased person's bank accounts as well as to legally sell assets and settle the debts of someone who has died.
Probate is used to give a named person authority to deal with the estate of the person who has died. When probate has been granted, the executor (the person in charge of distributing the deceased person's assets) will be able to assign this. If there was a Will, this sets out the precedent of which person or people will receive everything.
A grant of probate is needed due to the fact that legal authority needs to be given to the executors and to provide reassurance and protection for anyone that is holding money for the deceased or needs to purchase assets from the executor.
If the person who has died has left a valid Will, it will name an executor and it is their responsibility to apply for probate. However, if there is no Will then inheritance rules called the Rules of Intestacy will determine whose responsibility it is to get probate.
The Rules of Intestacy lay out the rules for intestate succession in England and Wales:
If you are dealing with anything other than a very small estate, you will need to apply for probate. As mentioned above this is even more likely if the person who has died was single or if their spouse or civil partner has died before them.
You need to apply for probate under the following circumstances:
You may not need probate if the following applies:
Only certain people can apply for probate and there are certain parameters that you need to meet in order to apply for probate. These parameters depend on whether there is a will or not. If there is a Will in place, then executors named in it can apply. If there is no Will, the closest living relative can apply for probate.
There are certain circumstances which deem that a probate application will not be necessary. In circumstances where all property and bank accounts are held jointly, the joint tenant or joint owner will automatically be granted ownership.
Probate is not necessary under the following circumstances:
Overall you should now have a clear understanding of when you need probate and what the probate process consists of and why it is necessary. As mentioned, probate is the process of administering the legal right to deal with the property and estate of someone who has died and gain legal certification in order to prove you have the right to do so.
This is an important process that is needed if you need to sell property on behalf of the estate or any banks or organisations the person who died held accounts with have told you they will need to see the Grant of Probate in order to release funds.
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Here at The Probate Bureau, we know probate can be an onerous task. Therefore, we provide a comprehensive fixed-fee probate service that will provide a clear explanation of the entire process including the legalities, forms, tax implications and much more. We know what you are facing and want to help so please give our free helpline a call today and speak to our friendly team.