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03 Nov

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What is probate ?

3rd November 2015 | By | No Comments

When a person dies and owns significant assets, a probate grant has to be obtained from a court for that person’s estate to be collected and divested among all beneficiaries. Probate is a term that describes this process and the “Grant of Probate” that must be issued to initiate it.

In addition to the above, an inheritance tax return is made to HMRC and any taxes owed are paid. Income tax affairs and pensions are finalised and the estate is collected from banks, building societies and other assets. Then, money and gifts that are due to beneficiaries are given to them after accounts for the estate have been prepared.

There are two types of grants – probates and letters of administration. Probate grants occur when the deceased has left behind a valid Will. It is given in favour of one or all of the executors of that Will.

Letters of administration are granted where the deceased did not leave a Will. This is a process that is still referred to as probate, but there are a few differences in how the grant is issued. The individuals entitled to obtain it can apply to the Probate Registry for it. Once the subsidy is released, they have proof they are allowed to deal with the deceased’s assets.

When Is Probate Required?

Probate is required in the UK in England and Wales when a property such as residences, constructions or area is owned by the deceased. A grant called a Grant of Representation is required by a bank or other financial institution where the deceased had accounts or assets held.

This grant will generally be needed if the accounts are over a specific amount. The thresholds are set by individual institutions, so the executors should take care to find out these limits from individual banks in order to determine if, in fact, the Grant of Representation is required.

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Whose Responsibility Is It to Obtain Probate?

In a case where a person dies with a Will, his or her executors are bound for obtaining probate. In situations where the person departs without a Will, this responsibility becomes that of the next of kin.

The person or persons who apply for probate are responsible for collecting all assets and paying all taxes and debts before distributing any remaining monies or assets to the beneficiaries. It must be noted that when someone begins to administer an estate and then chooses to stop either because they wish for someone else to do the job or because they find out that they are not entitled to do it they may still be liable as an administrator or executor of that estate.

Why Hire Hatfield Daniels LLP?

The probate process is extremely complex. Tax returns have to be made to HMRC on the basis of all information culled from the holders of all the deceased’s assets and his or her liabilities. These include bank accounts, investments, and pensions among other assets.

Once taxes are paid, the rest of the assets have to be put towards any remaining debts and then they have to be distributed according to the Will. If there were no Will, this could be a complicated process if any of the beneficiaries are in disagreement about who gets what.

In addition, any executor or next of kin could be liable personally if any mistakes are made, or any distributions were done improperly. One way to circumvent these predicaments is to hire a firm to handle the probate of any estate, whether the individual died with a Will or died intestate.

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