The death of a loved one is always an emotional time. Unfortunately it is also a time when there are lots of things to be done. We can assist you in sorting out the formalities relating to the administration of an estate, whether or not there is a Will. We are also experienced in those cases where matters where not straight forward and where action needs to be taken in relation to the will for example, a deed of variation, or where someone challenges the terms of the Will, also known as Disputed Probate.
Grant of Probate
Probate is the legal procedure to decide whether a deceased person has left a valid Will.
When a person makes a Will they appoint an executor to administer the estate when they die. The executor must make an application to the Court through the local Probate Registry to prove the Will and extract the Grant of Probate.
Generally (unless the estate is worth less than £5,000) assets will not be released to the executor without sight of Grant of Probate. Some banks however have a higher threshold of £15,000 or £25,000 whereby they will release funds usually after an executor has signed a Statutory Declaration confirming the details of the Estate.
We can help executors apply for Probate and fill in the Inheritance Tax Form, and if they wish, deal with the administration of the estate. Please contact us for further details.
Grant of Letters of Administration
When a person has died and not left a Will, there is therefore no executor. The person’s next of kin, e.g. spouse, civil partner, or child, can usually apply for a Grant of Letters of Administration to be the administrator of the estate.
You can apply if you had separated from the person but you were still married or in a civil partnership when they died. You can’t apply for a grant of representation if you’re the partner of the person but weren’t their husband, wife or civil partner when they died, and you’re also not automatically entitled to any of your partner’s estate.
The law decides who inherits if there is no Will. See what the rules are by looking at – IF YOU DO NOT MAKE A WILL.
Deed of Variation
You can change a person’s Will up to two years after their death, as long as any beneficiaries left worse off by the changes agree. You can change a will to:
- reduce the amount of Inheritance or Capital Gains Tax payable
- provide for someone who was left out of the Will
- move the deceased’s assets into a trust
- clear up any uncertainty over the Will
We can assist with the Deed or Letter of Variation you need to change a Will.
The government has produced a simple guide to help guide you through the steps required after a death entitled “What To Do After Someone Dies”. Click here to read it.