What is Probate?
Probate is the process used to manage a deceased person’s estate. The ‘estate’ here is in reference to everything that is owned by the recently passed. This can involve planning how to organise their assets (items or property owned by a person) and belongings before distributing them as inheritance. It is important to have a will because if someone dies without one, there are certain rules that take place which may not be the way that the person would have wanted their assets distributed. ‘Intestate’ refers to a death that occurs without a valid will. When this occurs, inheritance law is used to determine who is owed what. The Rules of Intestacy are referred to as this. If the decedent left a will, it would say who they intended to inherit their estate; this person is then referred to as the executor of the will.
In what scenarios will you need a Wills and Probate solicitor?
There are a number of reasons you may need to use a Wills and Probate solicitor as the process is very complicated and time-consuming, so expert advice is advised. We have outlined some of them below:
- A will being contested in terms of its validity and or if dependants were left out of the will (and they are likely to contest this)
- The deceased has passed without a will
- The case involves a large estate and complex details are involved such as trust funds
- The estate in question is bankrupt
- The estate involves a foreign property or asset
- The value of the estate is receiving consistent income
- The overall value of the estate is on the boundary of an inheritance tax threshold
The Probate Process
To go through the process, the following steps will need to be undertaken. If you choose to use a solicitor they will take care of all of this for you.
- Gather the relevant information related to the estate’s assets
- Apply for the Grant of Probate. This gives the legal right to manage the deceased’s estate and enables the solicitor to share the assets in accordance with the will.
- Complete an inheritance tax return and pay any due tax. This can be complicated and is well worth getting expert advice.
- Repay any outstanding debts left by the deceased
- Distribute the rest of the estate in relation to what was included in the will, or if there is no will, via the rules of intestacy.
How to start the Probate process
Our Probate team offers professional and practical advice, and we aim to provide a friendly, approachable service. We are here to help, not confuse. Contact the ONP Group today for more information about wills and probate and arrange a free initial consultation.