A Grant of Probate is a formal document the court issues to the executors confirming their authority to deal with the estate. Before applying for the Grant of Probate, you must check that it is needed and that you are eligible to apply. You must also estimate and report the estate value to determine if there is Inheritance Tax to pay.
Although 'probate' is used to describe the general process of dealing with a deceased's estate, the actual process will depend on whether the deceased left a Will.
Grant of Probate or Letters of Administration
If there is a Will, the executors (named in the Will) will need to apply for a Grant of Probate – if required to do so.
If the deceased died intestate (without a will), there are no executors named in the Will, or the executors cannot or are unwilling to act, the personal representatives will need to apply for Letters of Administration. The process involved is slightly different, with 'administrators' being appointed instead of 'executors' who would have been chosen.
When is a Grant of Probate required?
The value of the estate or what assets the deceased person owned will determine whether probate is needed. You will also need to find out how these assets were held. For example, you may not need probate if the person who died had jointly owned land, property, shares, or money. These will automatically pass to the surviving owners.
If the person who died leaves one or more of the following:
- more than £10,000 in any one account
- stocks, shares or certain insurance policies
- property or land that is held in their own name or as 'tenants in common'
You will likely need a Grant of Probate.
Usually, banks are willing to release smaller funds and assets without seeing a formal grant from the government. Therefore, if the estate's value is less than £10,000, probate will probably not be needed. However, there is no standard probate threshold in England and Wales, and it can be anywhere between £5,000 and £50,000. This is because every bank and financial organisation has their own limit they can release and their own approach to probate.
What are the main stages of Probate?
The key stages of the Probate process include:
- Stage 1 – Make contact with relevant asset holder.
- Stage 2 – Make an application for the grant of probate/letters of administration. This is also when we place advertisements.
- Stage 3 – Notify all the asset holders and apply for funds.
- Stage 4 - Distributing the estate to the new owners.
- Stage 5 – Preparation of the estate accounts.
To read in more depth about the key stages of the probate process, please read our previous – the stages of probate explained.
Expert Probate Solicitors Near You
We are trusted & reliable local bereavement solicitors providing specialist probate legal advice.
Jarmans Solicitors is one of the most established law firms in Sittingbourne. Our experienced probate solicitors can help you obtain the Grant of Probate or Letters of Administration, advising & assisting in all estate administration matters.