The Inheritance Guide

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A simple way to unlock probate

What is Grant of Probate?

Probate is a term used when talking about applying for the right to deal with a deceased person’s affairs. There are many different situations and terms that are used and they depend on whether the deceased has left a will and where they lived.

If the person who has died has left a Will things can be more straightforward. The executor/s will be the ones who will apply for a Grant of Probate.

"The executor applies for a 'grant of probate' from a section of the court known as the probate registry. The grant is a legal document which confirms that the executor has the authority to deal with the deceased person's assets (property, money and possessions" (nidirect.gov)

A grant is almost always needed when the person who dies leaves one or more of the following:

  • £10,000 or more
  • stocks or shares
  • certain insurance policies or pensions
  • property or land held in their own name or as 'tenants in common'

If there is no Will, a representative of the deceased applies for "Letters of Administration" which is a similar document to Probate. The personal representative (executor or administrator) won’t be granted probate until some or all of any inheritance tax due on the estate is paid. Applying for a grant takes around 14-21 working days after you have filed the completed HMRC forms.

The amount and detail of the information required to complete the forms is what takes the time to gather together. Often waiting on third parties for specific financial details that are not readily available to you causes more stress and upset at what is already an emotional time. Sudden death brings with it its own challenges as there has been no time for the deceased to prepare their affairs.

Once a grant has been issued you will need to send a copy, often together with a copy of the Will and Death certificate, to all the organisations and institutions that have previously requested sight of the documents, for example their bank. They should then release all assets into the executors account, the proceeds can then be used to settle any outstanding bills and tax owed.

The best time to put the property on the market depends on each individual situation. You cannot sell the property without a Grant of Probate or Letters of Administration. So first you need to decide how complex the estate is and how easy is it to gather together all the financial information that is required for HMRC. You may wish to capitalise on a rising market in the area and market the property whilst simultaneously applying for the Grant/Letters. This however could create an issue if a buyer is found before the Probate has been obtained, you could face losing a buyer or over exposing a property unnecessarily to the market, if it remains unsold.

Countrywide’s advice is to collate all the information you need to apply for the Grant of Probate, or Letter Of Administration, once the forms have been submitted then put the property on the market. The sale is unlikely to be finalised before you receive the grant.

The key thing to remember is that every situation is different and can therefore take varying amounts of time.

There are two options open to those dealing with a deceased affairs, you can opt to appoint a solicitor, this is costly as a percentage of the estate’s value, in addition to an acting fee, is payable and can take the same amount of time or longer than doing it yourself. The other option is to do it yourself. The Inheritance Guide’s system will walk you through this process at no cost, saving you £000s in legal fees. From the information you input it will decide what forms need to be completed and will complete them for you, ready for checking and submitting to HMRC. You control the process and how long it takes to complete.

Please be patient this can take a few minutes, we are processing your information and populating the relevant forms.