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What is probate and what do I need to know?

What is Probate?

The term probate simply means the process of handling someone’s estate once they pass away.  An estate is defined at your home, savings, investments and any other property you may have.

If the deceased person has a will, then there will be named executors.  Executors is the term given to the individual(s) whose responsibility it is to ensure the deceased wishes are carried out in accordance with their Will.

The executor is required to obtain a “Grant of Probate”, which simply put gives them the authority to deal with the deceased’s estate.

Getting started?

Firstly you must ascertain whether the deceased has a will or not.  If there is a will the situation is far less complex.  As there will be named executors as mentioned above.  If there is no will then it is necessary to seek a Grant of Letters of Administration from the Probate Registry.

Do I need probate?

Probate is not generally needed if the estate is valued under £15,000  or alternatively if the estate is jointly-owned by another person, in which case it will automatically pass to the survivor.

In essence a valuation of assets is required.

When valuing the estate all assets will be included and further information can be found online at the HRMC website (http://www.hmrc.gov.uk/)

Applying for probate

Before the formal probate process can begin if any inheritance tax is due on the estate this must be paid.  To gain the grant of probate, you can instruct your solicitor to make the application for you or you can arrange the application personally with the Probate Registry.

The grant of probate which can be known as the ‘grant of representation’ is sent via the post. Once in receipt of the grant of probate any debts owed by the estate must be paid, before administering what is left according to the Will.

The important point to note is that in order to have authority to deal with the deceased affairs you must be in receipt of the grant of probate.

We have a specialist probate department which can assist you as much or as little as you like.

We offer competitive fixed fees or we can assist you on a time charged basis, if you prefer.

Our main office is in Westbourne, Bournemouth but we can also attend you at our consultancy room in Christchurch and home appointments can be arranged if required.

For further information and free initial advice please contact our head of department Paul Solomons on 01202 802807 or email us on office@solomonslaw.co.uk

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