Probate - granting wishes


By Cassandra Anane

'Probate' is the process of applying for permission to deliver the wishes of a deceased person as set out in their will, otherwise known as 'administering' their estate.

This can often be a difficult and stressful time for many who have the responsibility of managing this matter, as it can become quite complex. The person responsible for administering an estate is legally known as an ‘executor’.

The way in which probate will proceed will depend on two very important factors:

  • If the deceased left a will: If this is the circumstance then it’s quite likely that one or more people will be named in the will as executors and will deal with the estate. The executors will then apply to the probate registry, which is a section of the court, for a grant of probate. This is an extremely important legal document, as it’s used to confirm that the executors have the authority to handle funds, collect finances and share the estate in accordance to the deceased person’s will

  • If the deceased died intestate (without making a will): If this is the case then the law allows for a close family member or friend to apply to the probate registry for a “grant of letters of administration.” This, like the grant of probate, will give the relative or friend the legal authority to handle the deceased’s estate

Many people are in a confused and distraught state when a loved one passes away. Many people therefore become confused as to whether probate actually needs to take place or not. The answer to this will solely depend on what the estate entails.

It’s unlikely that a grant of probate will be required if the deceased’s estate is relativity small. For example, if the sum of the estate left was less than £5,000, probate will not be required. Similarly  if the deceased died leaving a mirror will stating that all of the joint property should be automatically transferred to their partner then again, probate will be unnecessary.

In these types of cases the executor would simply need to write a letter to all of the organisations involved, such as the deceased’s bank, providing them with a copying of the death certificate. Once this letter has been received, the organisation then has the discretion whether or not to release the funds.

However with matters where the estate consists of particular insurance policies, stocks or shares, or property, it’s most likely that probate will need to take place.

If you are currently in the process of carrying out a deceased’s wishes and would like to discuss your options further, fill out our web-form or give us a call on 08001 221 2299 and we will put you in touch with a probate specialist.

Cassandra Anane is one of Caven’s most experienced and knowledgeable telephone advisors.

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