What is probate?

Probate is the legal process after death.

It is the process of dealing with a deceased person's cash, bank accounts, savings, shares, property, car, utilities, debts and more, together known as the deceased's "estate".

Probate is also known as the administration of an estate.

If there is no will, the deceased is said to have died "intestate". Probate is governed in part by the will (if there is one) or by the rules of intestacy.

The people responsible for the probate process are the executors (if there is a will) or the administrators (if there is no will).

Usually, a key part of the probate process is the application for a "grant of probate". 

If the value of the estate, after taking away debts, expenses and inheritance tax exemptions, is above the inheritance tax threshold (currently £325,000), inheritance tax must be paid before the grant of probate can be obtained.

Breaking down the probate process

The probate process can be broken down into these stages:

  1. Checking the will or the rules of "intestacy" if there is no will
  2. Valuing the estate and applying inheritance tax exemptions
  3. Completing the necessary tax and probate application forms
  4. Paying inheritance tax, if any
  5. Applying for the "grant of probate", if required
  6. Collecting funds, selling assets and distributing the estate.

 Our Grant of Probate package covers all these stages.

Executors' insurance

Executors may also want to consider insurance, designed to protect lay executors against personal, legal and financial liability in the unlikely event of a claim. Insurance might be particularly appropriate if there are missing beneficiaries or disputes. We are aware of one company - Executors Insurance - which provides flexible annual cover, plus tailored cover for more complex or high value estates.

Question? Contact us, e-mail support@probatewizard.co.uk, tel. 0845 163 4543, or find us on Twitter and Facebook.