What Does it Mean When a Will is in Probate?

28 December 2015

When someone dies and they leave a Will, it should name an Executor. An Executor is the person who has been appointed to action all of the instructions in the Will and the Will gives them the authority to administer the Estate and obtain Probate.

Probate may be needed to gain access to the bank accounts and assets of the person who has died so their Estate can be administered. In order to obtain the legal right to access all of their assets, you may need to apply for a Grant of Representation, also known as Probate, a Grant of Probate or where there is no valid Will in place, Letters of Administration.

In order to be able to obtain Probate, you have to be in a position to establish the value of the deceased persons' Estate. This can be a difficult and lengthy process to achieve without expert help and guidance. If you get this wrong, this can impact the amount of Inheritance Tax paid and potentially leave you open to legal and financial liabilities.

Inheritance Tax (IHT) should normally be paid before Probate can be issued. This is a crucial part of the Probate process and something that you are legally responsible for, if you are dealing with the Estate administration yourself. Paying Inheritance Tax may cause some difficulties, particularly as some of the financial institutions holding the Estate assets may not release funds to settle the Inheritance Tax liability until Probate has been granted.

As part of our Probate Complete Service, we can arrange a loan to cover the Inheritance Tax payments* and settle the cost of a Co-op Funeralcare funeral*. This amount will then be deducted from the Estate once Probate is settled.

*Providing that the Estate owns assets that can be liquidated.

In addition to paying any Inheritance Tax owed by the Estate, you will also need to collect any money outstanding and pay any bills or debts that need settling. This includes disconnection and final payment of utilities, collection of money held in stocks, shares, bank accounts and anywhere else. You will also need to sell any property that is held by the Estate, or arrange for it to be transferred to the beneficiary/beneficiaries.

Once you have liquidated all the cash assets and paid all outstanding debts, you can then distribute the remainder of the Estate to the beneficiaries. These are the people named as beneficiaries in the Will.

As you can see, the Probate process is complex and as with any procedure where selling property or land, there is an element of time and patience required, with the added challenge of finding a potentially large amount of money to pay for Inheritance Tax and a funeral.

Our Complete Probate Service can help you overcome these challenges and make what can be a stressful time into a less worrying prospect.

For free initial advice and guidance call the Probate Advisory team at Co-op Legal Services on 03306069584 or contact us online and we will help you.

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