Process Of Grant Of Probate
Following steps need to be taken to obtain the grant of Probate.
Register The Death
Register the deceased’s death certificate within five days in England, Wales, and Northern Ireland and within eight days in Scotland. Several places require a death certificate; therefore, paying and keeping several copies of the death certificate may be handy.
After the value of the estate has been assessed and all details worked out, a Probate Application form (PA1P) needs to be completed by filling out the online application, which can be downloaded from HM Courts & Tribunals Service website, along with the documents to be sent to the probate registry. It will accompany a signed statement of truth declaring that the information provided therein is correct.
The cost of administering the Probate is levied on the estate. The Executor will have to make an upfront payment and be reimbursed later in some cases. The fee is waived if the estate is worth less than £5,000, everywhere in the UK except Northern Ireland, where the threshold is £10,000. Extra copies of the Probate would be required as they are essential for the administration process, to be submitted to different financial institutions. The Executor themselves can file the probate application.
If done, it would cost around £215 in England and Wales, £261 in Northern Ireland, and £200 in Scotland. The fee can be reduced to £155 if paid through a solicitor; however, engaging their services may involve a few hundred or even thousand pounds for their cost.
If the estate affairs do not involve any complexity, the Executors themselves can undertake the probate process and save the cost of hiring a probate solicitor, which may be very high in some complex matters. Although handling the Probate themselves can significantly reduce the price, it will still leave much work and responsibility. Executors cannot cut corners and would be responsible for clearing all the factual claims, including taxes and carry the risk of being sued by one or more of the beneficiaries. The grant of Probate may also require seeking legal advice.
If the deceased has used the bank’s services to make a Will and has nominated the bank as a Joint Executor, some banks designate themselves as professional Executors. Handling by the bank could prove expensive as banks charge hefty fees to carry out the process. If the beneficiaries agree, they can ask the bank to give up its Executor role.
Grant Of Probate
A grant of Probate confirms the authority of the Executor to execute the wishes of the deceased, which includes settling the affairs and distributing the assets. Once the Probate s granted, it is possible to execute the Will of the deceased assets and wealth as the law has conferred legal authority to the person to act as an Executor.
Advertise In Gazette
The probate proceedings are required to be advertise by the Executor in a Gazette as soon as the death certificate is available without waiting for the Probate to be granted so that unidentified creditors can come forward to lodge their claims. Failure to do so can result in the Executor being personally held liable to unknown creditors. A notice may also be required to be published in the local newspaper if the Estate includes property. The process itself requires around 60 days to allow for potential creditors to come forward.
Estimating the value of the Estate
After the grant of Probate is obtained, the Executor is required to gather all the information about the identified assets of the deceased. This may require examining of the deceased person’s financial records, papers, bank statements, accounts, and other information to assess the number of assets and liabilities.
Valuation of some estates may be straightforward, but others may be full of complexities with multiple investments of diverse nature, bank accounts, properties, and personal belongings that may require approaching:
Most acquisitions are frozen until the Grant of Probate is obtained. Once the Probate has been granted, most financial institutions will release the funds as soon as possible; on receiving a certified copy of the Grant of Probate. The amount received must be deposited into a particular account by the name of an Executor to be kept separate from the Executor’s account.
It would be best to use the government’s Tell Us Once service. This service will help you communicate with many departments in one go. You can also benefit from sending certified copies of the death certificate to each financial institution that the deceased had an account and asking for a final statement.
Most of the estate, including property, is required to be valued. Valuing assets with an active secondary market might not be an issue as with bank accounts. Properties could be assessed or estimated by comparing prices of similar properties. An estate agent or a surveyor can provide a written valuation of the property to deal with HMRC. A similar approach can be adopted to assess the worth of other valuable assets for which an active market is not in place. Based on such valuation inheritance tax issues can be settled amicably.
File Inheritance Tax Forms
An online application form IHT 400 is required to be filed for the inheritance tax along with a copy of the death certificate, inheritance tax reference, and value of the estate.
Besides the valuation, HMRC also requires details of cash gifts made within seven years before the death, which can have a significant bearing on the estate’s value for inheritance tax purposes.
After filing the inheritance tax form, the due amount should be paid to HMRC in advance to obtain the grant of Probate. Before paying any inheritance tax, the following options need to be checked to act appropriately. Is there:
If there is enough money in the deceased’s bank account to pay for the IHT; most UK banks can allow for direct payment to the HMRC on receiving the Inheritance tax 423 form. If a greater proportion of estate is tied up in property, shares, or any other assets; the HMRC will accept inheritance tax payment in instalments, and only requires one-tenth of the total due in advance. The estate will bear less or no inheritance tax if the value of the estate is below the inheritance tax threshold of £325,000 which will be inherited by the spouse, civil partner, or transferred to a charity or community clubs.
The inheritance tax threshold of the surviving spouse or civil partner can be increased up to £1 million by consuming the deceased partner’s unused IHT allowance if their estate is worth less than the IHT threshold. One can claim the additional allowance for the estate below the IHT threshold. Executors must complete form IHT 217 or IHT 402 when the estate is above the IHT threshold or cannot claim the total allowance.
Distribute The Assets
Once funds due have been received and the authority to distribute the estate is in place, appropriate payments can be made to the beneficiaries and creditors. Before distributing the assets, the Executor is required to ensure that:
Once all the laid down formalities are completed, a final set of accounts should be prepared and get the final statement approved by the beneficiaries before distributing the estate to them to prevent disputes from occurring amongst and with the beneficiaries. This last statement includes all the money received and paid out. The record has to be maintained and other supporting documents for a period of at least 12 years.
Care Accountancy can help you complete legal formalities to obtain access to assets for the legal heirs after the death of a loved one and as soon as possible. A grant of Probate is required when someone dies and leaves a Will to deal with the assets. During such a difficult time, Care Accountancy can help you complete all the formalities relating to the grant of Probate, gathering details of the assets and liabilities, HM Revenue & Customs (HMRC) reporting, and settling any inheritance tax liability. Once the grant has been issued, we will arrange a settlement of liabilities, distribution to the beneficiaries, provide estate accounts for the executors and beneficiaries and handle the process from the beginning to the end with utmost care.