A Guide to Probate

Updated: Oct 12, 2019






Our definitive 'Guide to Probate'

Once a person passes away, the process of handling their affairs is known as probate and this is where their estate is administered. Find out more in our 'Guide to Probate' below.


'Guide to Probate' The Duties of the Executor If a valid Will is left by the deceased, it will mention the name of at least one executor. This means that they will be responsible for administering the estate and dealing with the financial affairs, dealing with any last wishes and handling taxes and debts. With this in mind, it is not a legal requirement for someone to accept the role of executor. In instances where there is no executor, it is possible for an application to be made by a relative or close friend to take on the responsibility.


They will have to gather the money and assets held in the estate and deal with any legacies and so, they have to apply for a ‘grant of representation’ from the Probate Registry as well as send the original Will with the forms.


Once the grant of probate has been issued, it will enable the executor to collect money and assets that belong to the deceased from organisations and financial institutions. Should the deceased jointly own a home, then a grant might not be needed as ownership will be passed onto the surviving partner.


If there is no Will in place, then this means that an individual has died intestate and things can become more complicated. In this case a friend or relative will have to apply for permission to handle the estate. In those cases where the estate is small, a grant of representation may not be required but otherwise the administrator will need to apply for a grant of letters of administration.


'Guide to Probate' Estate Valuation In terms of distributing the estate, a valuation is crucial for the beneficiaries, inheritance tax, capital gains tax as well as paying off any debts. It is important that all debts are paid because this becomes a personal responsibility that can lead to heavy fines to pay if they miss a tax payment. It is also a legal requirement to keep accounts of the estate in a clear and concise way. Of course, the bigger the estate, the more intricate the task can become.


Depending on the complexity of the estate, the time it takes to obtain a grant of probate or letters of administration can differ. This can relate to property overseas, accounts and shares and so it can slow the process down by a considerable amount. The average time it takes to complete probate is around six to nine months and can take as much as 80 working hours but in some cases, where there are complications it can take years.


'Guide to Probate' Inheritance Tax Calculation You will receive an oath and inheritance tax form when you apply for grant of probate. Those estates that are not liable for inheritance tax will be given an IHT205 form and those that have to pay inheritance tax will have an IHT400 form. It is crucial that all details are provided including liabilities, assets, lifetime gifts and Trust interests. Any payable inheritance tax will need to be paid six months from the date the deceased passed away because missing this deadline will result in the estate accruing interest. Find out more



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