Will I Have to Attend Court During the Probate Process?
03 August 2017
If you go through the probate process without a solicitor or any legal assistance, you’ll need to go to the probate court (known as the Probate Registry in England and Wales) for an interview. But if you instruct a law firm or our probate solicitors to complete probate on your behalf, you won’t need to go to court or attend an interview.
Personal Representative Responsibilities
Probate is the formal legal process of dealing with somebody’s assets after they have died. Probate involves one or more of the deceased’s personal representatives getting a grant of representation. This is a grant of probate if the deceased has left a will, or a grant of letters of administration if he/she has not left a Will. Not leaving a will is often called ‘dying intestate’.
If you are a personal representative, you have a responsible and often difficult job which can involve doing a lot of work. It could also leave you being liable for any financial or practical difficulties that may arise from the Probate process being completed improperly.
Personal representatives are responsible for making sure that the estate is administered correctly. If there is a will, you as the personal representative must make sure that the wishes of the person who has died, as set out in their will, are followed. If there is no will, you must follow the rules of intestacy.
To apply for a grant of probate or letters of administration, you need to fill in a number of forms. These can be complicated, and will ask a number of questions that you need to answer about the person who has died, their surviving relatives, you and any other personal representatives, and some details about the will, if there is one.
You will also need to fill out other forms relating to tax. Depending on how much the estate is worth, the complexity of these forms can vary greatly. You will always need to complete an inheritance tax form, even if there is no tax to pay because the value of the estate is below the inheritance tax threshold.
Currently in England and Wales, inheritance tax typically has to be paid when an individual’s estate (their property, finances and belongings) is worth more than £325,000 when they pass away. For more information see Probate and Inheritance Tax.
Attending Probate Court
When you have completed and sent the correct inheritance tax forms to HMRC, you will then need to go to a Probate Registry (often called the Probate Court) for an interview. The questions you’ll be asked during the interview will be based on the forms, certificates, the will (if there is one) and tax forms that you have sent in.
If you are a personal representative, you can instruct a legal firm like Co-op Legal Services to deal with your loved one’s estate and to get probate for you and will deal with the forms, and you won’t need to go to Court at all. Often we can deal with everything including swearing the Oath on your behalf, and getting all the necessary forms and certificates that you need to get probate.
If a loved one has died and you need help dealing with the Probate process, our probate advisory team offer free initial advice and a sympathetic ear when you need it most.
We can arrange for one of our probate consultants to meet you over video or phone to discuss the Estate in more detail, and to provide you with a fixed fee probate quote.
Co-op Legal Services is the largest provider of Probate and Estate Administration services in England and Wales.
Probate consultants are available in England and Wales only for customers using our Probate Complete Service.