It is a common misunderstanding that if someone dies without a Will, there is no need for a grant of probate. For some that will be the case; executors can deal with some assets without a grant of probate. However, for assets including stocks and shares and property, a grant of probate will always be required, even if there is a Will.
A “Grant of Probate” is an official document which the executors need to administer an estate. It confirms who the executors of an estate are and the Will is submitted to the Probate Registry, part of HM Courts and Tribunals Service. The probate application involves itemising the deceased’s assets and liabilities, paying inheritance tax where applicable and swearing an oath. The Grant of Probate is then obtained, which is the document has to be produced to banks and share registrars etc. If there is no Will, then an application to the Probate Registry for a Grant of Letters of Administration is even more likely to be needed to deal with the estate.
Some estates are complex and will take years to administer however, others can be dealt with within a few months. Inheritance Tax may not apply to the majority of estates however, the rules are not straightforward and it can often be beneficial to involve a professional to prepare or check the papers that are being submitted. The government itself has acknowledged the tax can be a mine field to negotiate and has recently consulted practitioners and the general public with a view to simplifying the tax. What will come of the consultation is not yet known.
The Wilkes Partnership deal with applications for probate and estate administration on a daily basis and are experts in guiding you through the process and liaising with the associated third party institutions involved.
For more information and advice contact Ellie Holland, Partner on 0121 733 8000 or [email protected].