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Probate - More Information

Pro­bate” has a par­tic­u­lar legal mean­ing but it is gen­er­al­ly used with­in the Eng­lish legal pro­fes­sion as a term to cov­er all pro­ce­dures con­cerned with the Admin­is­tra­tion of a deceased person’s Estate, when they left a Will. A Grant of Pro­bate sim­ply proves the Will to be the last Will and Tes­ta­ment, and gives your named Executor/​s the author­i­ty to col­lect in and dis­trib­ute the Estate on your behalf.

If you die IntEs­tate (with­out a valid Will), then although the pro­ce­dure is effec­tive­ly the same, the required Grant is called a Grant of Let­ters of Admin­is­tra­tion’ and is avail­able to your near­est rel­a­tives based on those enti­tled to your Estate under the Laws of Intes­ta­cy. If an Estate has a val­ue of less than £5000.00, or if all assets are held joint­ly and there­fore pass by sur­vivor­ship, for exam­ple to a sur­viv­ing Spouse, a Grant will not usu­al­ly be required.

The gen­er­al pub­lic can apply to a local Pro­bate Reg­istry for a Grant them­selves but most peo­ple use a Pro­bate prac­ti­tion­er such as a Solic­i­tor. If an Estate is small, some Banks and Build­ing Soci­eties will allow accounts to be closed by the deceased’s imme­di­ate fam­i­ly with­out a Grant.

The per­sons who are actu­al­ly giv­en the job of deal­ing with the deceased’s assets are called Per­son­al Rep­re­sen­ta­tives” or PR’s”. If the deceased left a valid Will then the PR’s will be the Execu­tors” who are appoint­ed by the Will. If there is no Will, or if the Will does not con­tain a valid appoint­ment of Execu­tors (for exam­ple if they are all dead), then the PR’s are called Admin­is­tra­tors”. So, Execu­tors obtain a Grant of Pro­bate which enables them to deal with the Estate and Admin­is­tra­tors obtain a Grant of Admin­is­tra­tion, which enables them to do the same. Apart from that dis­tinc­tion the func­tion of Execu­tors and Admin­is­tra­tors is exact­ly the same.

Cer­tain prop­er­ty falls out­side the Estate for admin­is­tra­tion pur­pos­es; the most com­mon exam­ple being hous­es joint­ly owned, that pass by sur­vivor­ship on the first death of a cou­ple into the sole name of the sur­vivor. Oth­er exam­ples include dis­cre­tionary death ben­e­fits from pen­sion funds, accounts with cer­tain finan­cial insti­tu­tions sub­ject to a nom­i­na­tion, and the pro­ceeds of life insur­ance poli­cies which have been writ­ten into Trust. Trust prop­er­ty will also fre­quent­ly fall out­side of the Estate but this will depend on the terms of the Trust.

Intes­ta­cy Rule

Learn more about the intes­ta­cy rules in our sim­pli­fied form…

Intestacy Rule

To find out more about Pro­bate, con­tact the team today.

Our fees for Pro­bate work vary depend­ing upon the size, val­ue, and com­plex­i­ty of the case.