Navigating the Probate Process
The probate process comes at an unsettling time for many, but by working with a qualified probate specialist, you can minimise some of the stress.
However, the first thing you need to do is understand the probate process. As well as being an emotional procedure, probate is a complex undertaking. With an awareness of what probate is you can then confidently move on to hiring a probate specialist.
What is Probate?
In simplest terms, probate is a legal process that takes place in court to prove the validity of a Will, and it can be broken down into three stages:
- Establish value – The initial stage of probate focuses on establishing the value of the deceased’s estate. This is calculated by evaluating both the deceased’s assets and liabilities. The assets involved will include personal possessions, investment portfolios and any property. Liabilities that will be considered tend to focus on debts such as loans and credit card balances. This early stage of probate is also crucial in confirming individual entitlements to the deceased’s will.
- Settling liabilities – The next stage of probate is concerned with obtaining a grant of representation and settling any outstanding liabilities. It’s important to, firstly, finalise the payment of any inheritance tax to HMRC. The grant of representation can then be applied for through the probate registry. Once issued, the grant of representation establishes who has the legal right to administer the Will. With this authority in place it is then possible to settle the deceased’s outstanding debts.
- Transfer of assets – The final stage involves making sure that all the estate payments are correctly documented, this involves both payments in and out. The balance is then forwarded to the estate’s representative to approve. And, once approved, the transfer of any assets and funds can commence.
What Should You Keep in Mind?
The complexities of the probate process mean that there are a lot of factors to consider. The most important things to keep in mind are:
- Probate specialists are there to help and deal with the complexity of the situation. Therefore, it’s vital that you seek consultation with a probate lawyer as early as possible.
- Whether a Will has been created or not, probate is always required in administering the contents of the deceased’s estate.
- Any assets that are held in joint names will automatically pass to the surviving party. This applies to both property and personal belongings such as cars.
- All creditors (with no exceptions) relating to the deceased must be contacted to establish the most accurate status of the estate’s finances.
Work with a Probate Specialist
Probate help will be required in almost every probate case due to the often daunting number of complexities involved. It is therefore always recommended that you turn to probate lawyers to deliver the right solution for you.
For more information, don’t hesitate to get in touch and speak to one of our experienced probate specialists.