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Probate Services

Probate’ is a term commonly used when talking about applying for the right to deal with a deceased person’s affairs. It is sometimes called ‘administering the estate’. This page contains information about what to expect if a loved one’s estate is in probate and a step-by-step guide to life after death from a legal perspective.

The administration of an estate can be a stressful, upsetting and time consuming process. It is the job of your solicitor to provide a service that makes the process as smooth as it needs to be. We will guide you through the process and help make your legacy as straightforward as possible. With the right planning and preparation you can leave one less emotional burden for your loved one when you have passed away.

Registering the Death and Obtaining the Death Certificate

The registration of the death is the formal record of the death. It is done by the Registrar of Births, Deaths and Marriages and you will find the address of the nearest register office in the telephone directory. When someone dies at home, the death should be registered at the register office for the district where they lived. If the death took place in hospital or in a nursing home it must be registered at the register office for the district in which the hospital or home is situated. In England and Wales, if it is convenient, you can go to a different office to register the death and the details will be passed on to the correct office. Note that it is a criminal offence not to register a death.

The death certificate is a copy of the entry made by the registrar in the death register and also obtained here. This certificate is needed to deal with the money or property left by the person who has died, including dealing with the will. You may need several copies of the certificate, for which there will be a charge.

Locating the Will and Arranging the Funeral

It is advised to locate a person’s Will before going ahead with a funeral. Wills usually state whether a person wants to be buried, cremated or otherwise. It is also advised as it may give other details of how the deceased wished their funeral to be arranged. Whoever organises the funeral will be held accountable for all costing; however you should be reimbursed out of the estate at a later date.

If there are no relatives or friends to arrange a funeral, in England and Wales, the local authority or health authority will arrange a simple funeral.As well as locating the Will you need to gather together all the documents which confirm the assets stated within the Will. These might include saving accounts, life policies, share certificates, premium bonds and pension policies. It is also necessary to gather any liabilities such as funeral expenses, mortgages and bills belonging to the deceased.

Establish who the Executor/ Administrator is

When a person dies, someone has to deal with their affairs. This is called ‘administering the estate’. The person entrusted to deal with the estate is the executor who will be responsible for administrating the estate. Those named as executors may need to apply for a grant of probate. This is the official document which the executors may need to administer the estate. It is issued by a section of the court known as the probate registry.

Inform all Necessary Persons About the Death

As part of our role in administrating the estate we will inform all interested parties who feature as part of the deceased’s official business. We would suggest that you notify all relevant persons known on a professional level as soon as possible.

These might include:

  • The deceased’s employer
  • Doctors and dentists
  • Any landlord or tenants
  • H.M Revenue and Customs
  • Banks, building societies and insurance companies
  • Any companies supplying the deceased with a service

 

Obtaining the Grant of Representation

A grant of representation is an A4 document with an official stamp in the lower right-hand corner. It shows the deceased’s name, address and date of death, the total value of his or her estate and the names and addresses of the personal representatives. The grant is proof that the personal representatives have authority to deal with the estate. Typically, it is required before the personal representatives can collect funds, sell property and so on. EAD can assist with obtaining this in order to make the probate process as smooth as possible.

The Three Types of Grant of Representation:

  • Grant of probate, if the applicants are executors appointed in the deceased’s will.
  • Grant of letters of administration, if there is no will, or a will but no executors are willing or able to act.
  • Grant of letters of administration with will annexed, if there is a will but none of the executors is willing or able to act.

 

Together, all three grants are known as grants of representation. They serve the same purpose: to prove the personal representatives have authority to deal with the estate.

When it is not necessary?

If an estate is worth less than £5,000, a grant will normally not be required. Sometimes, a grant will not be required for estates larger than £5,000, for example if there is no house, no shares and no more than £5,000 in any one bank account.

Intestacy Provisions

If a person dies without leaving a valid will, their estate will be shared out according to certain rules. These are called the rules of intestacy. A person who dies without leaving a Will is referred to an intestate person. Only married or civil partners and some other close relatives can inherit under the rules of intestacy. If someone makes a will but it is not legally valid, the rules of intestacy decide how the estate will be shared out, not the wishes expressed in the will.

The relatives of the deceased will inherit in the following order:

  • Surviving Spouse
  • Children of the deceased
  • Parents of the deceased
  • Brothers or Sisters of the deceased
  • Step brothers of the deceased
  • Grandparents of the deceased
  • Uncle or Aunts of the Deceased
  • Step uncles or aunts of the deceased
  • The Government

 

Administrating the Estate

Following the registration of the death, and the birth certificates being placed into the possession of the executor, the next step EAD’s Probate team will do is to administrating the estate. This includes:

  • Determining the value of the deceased’s estate
  • Obtaining consent from the Probate Registry to administer the estate
  • Identifying and validating the entitlement of beneficiaries
  • Distributing the balance of the estate

 

Make an Appointment today and let EAD’s probate team can advise you on the next steps.

     

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