All too often people find themselves facing difficulties of a financial nature, and/or family disputes over inheritance because parents personal affairs have been neglected and no arrangements made.
In the UK, approximately 65% of people who die do so without making a Will. People unnecessarily face considerable difficulty in coping with the personal and financial problems caused by the onset of Alzheimer’s or dementia when elderly relatives are no longer able to cope. Without proper provision such as Lasting Powers of Attorney the aftermath can be expensive, distressing and adversely affect the value of assets and potential estate.
At some point you will probably have to deal with the estate of your older relatives. The probate process can be very time consuming and costly. A brief summery of the key points follows.
What is probate?
The holders of certain assets may require a Grant of Representation (a ‘grant‘) before they will release an asset.
The legal process of applying for a grant is often referred to as ‘applying for probate’.
Obtaining a grant from a section of the Court known as the Probate Registry guarantees the holding company that the person claiming the asset is legally entitled to it.
The demanding application process also ensures that HMRC can assess and collect any Inheritance Tax that may be due.
There are two types of grant that are finally issued, either:
A Grant of Probate
– if there is a Will
A Grant of Letters of Administration
– if there is no Will (intestacy)
Do you need probate?
Apply to the relevant institutions to release monies held in bank accounts, ISAs, shares, pensions, bonds, life insurances etc. These institutions will then confirm if they are prepared to release the asset without requiring a grant.
If the total asset value in the deceased’s sole name (in a bank etc) is typically in excess of £10,000, the holding institution will normally require a grant to be obtained before releasing the asset.
If a grant is required for one asset, it is generally used to release all assets.
Each institution has a threshold above which they will normally require a grant. However, some institutions may request a grant to release any asset regardless of value. If the total asset value held by one institution is less than approximately £10,000 at the date of death, the institution may release the asset without a grant.
The Land Registry may require a grant to sell or transfer a property according to how it is owned:
Jointly a grant is not required
Sole name a grant is required
Tenants in Common a grant is required
Consider a legal professional or a solicitor for advice.