If you have recently lost a loved one, you may be going through probate. Probate refers to administrating a person’s estate after their death and can typically take 6 to 8 months to complete for a simple estate.

The responsibility of administering the estate can be daunting for an executor, especially at such an emotional time. To help, we have set out a step-by-step process.

How to locate a Will once someone has died?

After the relevant people have been notified of the death and it has been registered, you should start with the deceased’s Will. If you cannot locate it, you should check if the deceased’s bank, solicitor, or accountant has it.

If there is no Will, the people who are entitled to inherit under the government’s intestacy rules have the right to apply to become executors of the estate.

When to speak to the bank or other financial providers once someone has died?

You should then start getting financial information together. You will also need to contact the bank and other financial companies and notify them.

When to have a property valued after someone has died?

If there is a property within the estate, you will need to get it valued.

Report the value of the estate

To get a Grant of Probate, you need to complete an Inheritance Tax (IHT) form (whether tax is payable or not). This form sets out any assets and debts of the estate and is where you can work out its overall value. There are two forms and which one you need to complete depends on the value of the estate and if there is any tax to pay.

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Grant of Probate – Probate Lawyers

Following this, you can apply for the Grant of Probate. This is a document that gives you the right to access the deceased’s funds, organise their finances, and divide their assets.

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Distribute the estate

You can then distribute the assets to the beneficiaries. You should also take into account Capital Gains Tax, Income Tax, and these will have an effect on the amount of money that is distributed.

In order to exchange contracts and complete, you will require a Grant of Probate as this gives you the authority to exchange and complete. The process of selling the property is no different as long as you have obtained this.

If you haven’t got the Grant of Probate when you have accepted an offer on the property, it can take anywhere between 5 and 12 weeks to get once applied for and this is dependent on whether a full Inheritance Tax Account is required or whether it is a straightforward application.

Consider enlisting legal support

While you can carry out probate yourself, it is a lengthy and complex task that can present many a pitfall if it’s not undertaken properly. The best thing to do is to speak to an experienced solicitor that can guide you through the process.

Attwells Solicitors offer two options for probate, depending on what suits you best. Our Fixed-Fee Probate service means you can do parts of probate yourself with the help of a lawyer. This is used in the majority of situations but may not always be suitable for more complex estates.

Alternatively, we offer a Complete Probate service, where your lawyer will undertake all aspects of probate.

For sympathetic legal support call our team on 01473 229 200.

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