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When a loved one passes away, the grief and emotion can be all-consuming. But, when you’re also the person that is responsible for dealing with the administration of your loved one’s estate, it can all get too much. And, you need to get the court’s permission to deal with their estate before you can do anything. This means that you’re not allowed to start the process of collecting assets until you’ve applied for a Grant of Probate. This is a legal document that will give you the authority to deal with your loved one’s property. But, not everyone will need to go through the Probate process when a loved one dies. It’s dependent on whether they owned a property(s), the total value of their estate and whether their assets were jointly held or solely owned. Contrary to what the majority of people believe, it actually doesn’t matter whether a loved one left a Will or not; Probate might be needed in either circumstance. The process is generally the same, although there are some things to be aware of.

The Probate Process When There’s a Will

If a loved one has left a Will, it will provide instructions as to who should apply for a grant of Probate, administer the estate and who the beneficiaries are. Therefore, when someone passes away, one of the first things you need to do is find out whether they have left a valid Will. If so, it will outline who the executors should be. These are the people that the deceased wants to deal with their estate, and unless they have already passed away or want to renounce their role, they will be responsible for executing the process. As long as those named as the executors are willing to act, they can begin the Probate process. When there is a valid will in place, before an application can be made to the Probate Registry, the executor(s) must first obtain an official copy of the death certificate.

In order to obtain a grant of Probate, the executor(s) must first fill out a form known as a PA1. This asks for information about the deceased, their assets and their relatives. Accumulating this information can take a little while longer if the deceased owned assets that were overseas. This form then needs to be sent to the Probate Registry together with an official copy of the death certificate, the original Will, three additional copies of the Will and the correct Inheritance Tax form. If the Probate Registry find that everything is in order, then a Grant of Probate will be issued to the executor(s). Only then can the administration of estate begin. This is the process of distributing the estate to the beneficiaries who were named in the Will. This should be straightforward as the deceased has indicated who should receive inheritance and what they receive should consist of. However, if the estate is insolvent and there isn’t enough money to pay off all debts, then complications will arise.

Once all of the estate has been distributed to the beneficiaries, the executor(s) must then prepare final estate accounts that needs to be signed by them and the beneficiaries. Once this has been done, the Probate process has been completed.

The Probate Process When No Will Was Left

If the deceased didn’t leave a Will, then their relatives must apply for Probate in order to distribute their estate. This is normally the deceased’s next of kin. The person who applies for a Grant of Probate is known as the administrator rather than the executor. The administrator must apply to the Probate Registry (like an executor would) and complete a PA1 together with including an official copy of the death certificate. However, certain sections for this form will be irrelevant because there is no Will. The administrator must also arrange an Inheritance Tax payment. If the Probate Registry are satisfied, they will then issue a legal document known as a Grant of Letters of Administration. This gives the administrator the authority to start winding up the deceased person’s affairs and distribute their estate. The way this is done will depend on what the deceased owned but could include the selling or transferring property, paying liabilities and collecting assets. Once this has been determined, the administrator can then distribute the estate to the beneficiaries.

As the deceased didn’t leave a Will, their estate must be distributed in line with the Rules of Intestacy. These rules determine who inherits what based on family connections but don’t take into account the closeness of relationships. It places people into an order of priority and who inherits what will entirely depend on the size of the estate. In most cases, Rules of Intestacy means that the administrator is the main beneficiary. Once the estate has been distributed the administrator must then prepare estate accounts that need to be approved and signed by the beneficiaries. This then completes the process.

We Are Here to Help

If a loved one has passed away and you need to apply for Probate in order to distribute their estate, then we can help support you throughout the entire process. We have five generations of experience serving our local community since 1867, which means that every little detail matters to us just as much as it matters to you when a loved one has died. If you would to talk about the Probate process and need some advice, then please get in touch through our contact page today.


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