What is Probate?When someone passes away, assuming that they have made a Will, they would have nominated an Executor. Before the executor can start the process of identifying assets, liabilities and the disbursement of the estate in accordance with the Will they must first apply for a Grant of Representation from the Probate office. The Grant of Representation legally allows the Executor to act on behalf of the deceased. If there was no Will present or the courts deemed that the executor was not a fit and proper person (i.e. have a criminal record) then the courts will appoint an executor. This cost will be added as a debt to the deceased estate due to their intervention. They will be supplied with a Letter of Administration. The executors have to:
- Understand the Will and its contents
- Gather details of all liabilities and assets
- Apply for the Grant of probate or confirmation
- Complete HMRC (Her Majesty’s Revenue and Customs) documents
- Obtain and value all of the assets
- Locate Beneficaries
- Pay all relevant taxes. This includes but not limited to: Inheritance, Income and Capital Gains taxes.
- Make sure all liabilities and expenses are paid off
- Distribute or the transfer of the relevant assets
- Prepare all relevant accounts
- Ensure assets remain insured and in good repair whilst probate is going through
- Manage assets wisely
- Not sell assets too cheaply
- Pay all debts and taxes before disbursing the residue to the beneficiaries in accordance with the Will
- Not over pay one beneficiary at the expense of another.