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Understanding When Probate Required

When is Probate Needed?

When it comes to dealing with a person’s estate following their death, the procedure is called probate. This process essentially clears liabilities and distributes remaining assets according to the testator’s last will and testament.

When a person dies in England and Wales, probate is normally required if he or she owned property, however, there are certain exceptions like if their assets exceeded a certain amount, as well as how to apply for probate in the unfortunate event that a loved one has perished.

Bank Accounts

If the deceased person had a bank account with money in it over a particular threshold, solely in their name, probate may be necessary. There are various rules for each bank and financial institution on how much cash they will give before requiring a grant for probate. A table outlining banks within England and Wales’ can be found here, alongside their probate threshold, which can vary anywhere from £5,000, to £50,000

If the bank account was a joint account with a spouse or partner, the surviving account holder will be given full access and control of the money and account, regardless of the amount.

The Ownership of Property

The transfer or sale of the property for probate will be dependent on whether the ownership was shared or if the deceased was the only named owner.

A grant for probate is not required if the property’s shares were held with someone else, such as a joint tenant or partner/spouse. These will be automatically be passed on to the surviving owner. However, in the instance of sole ownership, probate would be necessary before transferring or selling the property.

Access to Investments

Investments are rarely given out by a bank without any grant, therefore if the deceased held stocks, shares or other sorts of assets, they will have to provide a grant for probate papers to gain access to these funds.

Estate Insolvency

On the rare occasion, an estate is insolvent whereby the value of assets is less than the deceased’s outstanding liabilities, probate is unlikely to be required.

How Long Does Probate Take to Complete?

Probate appears to be taking longer each year, although the duration can vary from six months to many years. The length of time it takes to finalise probate depends in part on whether you choose to employ probate consultants to take up some or all of the responsibilities of an executor.

Kent-based probate accountants understand that it can be a tough choice, but one that you must give careful consideration to before deciding to take on the extra administrative burden of probate.

Applying for Probate

There are a few things you must know before submitting an application for probate since it is a lengthy procedure. Consider gathering records, registering the deceased, collecting documents, estimating the estate, and much more. If you are unsure about the probate process then we recommend hiring a licenced probate accountant, that are fully qualified and experienced in handling the process for you.

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