Do you live in the Ringwood or New Forest area? Are you looking for assistance with probate and estate administration?
If you are seeking help, the probate team here at local Fordingbridge law firm Bonallack & Bishop, can help [following the 2017 merger with long established Fordingbridge Solicitors, Jacksons].
Live in the Ringwood or New Forest area? Need help with probate? Call our experienced team on (01425) 652110 for no strings attached FREE initial phone advice.
What is probate?
The role of probate is to distribute your assets to those named in your will following your death. In the absence of any will those assets will be distributed by the UK probate court in line with the so-called “intestacy rules”.
What to do when someone dies
• Find out if there is a will
The will sets out who the executors are – the people responsible for applying for probate, dealing with the assets within the estate and ensuring that they are distributed in line with the will. If the executors are not family members, make sure they are informed as soon as possible about what has happened.
If there is no will, then the intestacy rules will apply. These set out those who should deal with the estate – called administrators.
Administrators and executors have the same duties and responsibilities and are known as personal representatives (PRs)
• Register the death
This must be done with the Registrar for Births and Deaths for the sub district in which the death occurred. Phone them for an appointment; they will tell you exactly what information you need to take along to the appointment.
• Make arrangements for the funeral.
Check the will to see if the person who had died had any special funeral wishes and make sure the funeral director is aware of these.
Obtaining probate – the process
The distribution of the assets contained in your estate will be handled by the executor named in you will, or alternatively by a court appointed administrator in the event that you were to die without a valid will and the intestacy rules apply
• Identify assets and debts
The personal representatives [PRs] are responsible for finding out what assets the person who has died owned – e.g. bank and building society account, property, insurance policies, shares, premium bonds. Each institution will have to be informed of the death and date of death valuations obtained. Any property and contents will also need to be valued. The PRs are also responsible for obtaining details of any debts outstanding and for ensuring these are paid.
• The grant
In the process of obtaining probate, the grant is a formal document issued by the probate registry that confirms the authority of the PRs to act and deal with the administration of the estate. If there is a will, a grant of probate is obtained; if the deceased died without a will, then a grant of letters of administration is required.
A grant is not always necessary. If the value of the assets is small, there is no house, or all the investments are held in joint names, a grant may not be required.
A grant cannot be applied for until any inheritance tax (“IHT”) due has been paid and a receipt obtained for this, which must be provided to the probate registry. An IHT account giving details of the assets within the estate and the debts must be prepared together with a short oath which the PRs must swear – a quick and simple procedure.
Click here to read more about the grant of representation
• Collecting and distributing the assets
Once the grant has been obtained, it must be produced to all organisations that the deceased held investments with, enabling them to release the money. Any debts must then be paid together with expenses before what is left is distributed to those entitled under the terms of the will. Assets do not necessarily have to be sold or cashed in; shares can, for example, be transferred to those entitled if they prefer to keep them.
Click here to find out more about our probate solicitors can help you.
Can I look after probate myself?
Yes, that is perfectly possible. Every year, around 200,000 people deal with probate themselves – getting involved with the probate courts and tax office. DIY probate is certainly growing – partly due to the economic climate.
With very simple estates, or with people who really know what they’re doing, DIY probate is not necessarily not a problem. However an increasing number of people are getting into real trouble with probate when they tried to do it themselves.
Click here to find out more about DIY probate and the risks involved
Can my bank handle probate for me?
Amongst alternative to solicitors handling probate is the use of the probate legal services offered by various UK banks.
Do, however, check on their fees first. In general the probate services offered by banks are much more expensive than those provided by most solicitors.
Live in Sherborne? Need probate advice you can rely on? Talk to us first.
For the right advice from genuine probate experts, contact our probate team today for a FREE no obligation initial phone chat. We have all the experience you need.
• Just call us on SALISBURY (01722) 422300 or FORDINGBRIDGE (01425) 652110
• E-mail us using the contact form below