When a loved one dies, you have to deal with the emotional loss and pain of losing them, alongside the more practical issues that present themselves when someone dies, such as ‘is there a Will?’ and ‘who is going to deal with their estate?’
Probate is the process that encompasses all of these questions and enables other people to manage the execution of someone’s Will, if there is one, or applies the laws of intestacy where there isn’t a Will. It will also legally allow you access to your loved one’s bank accounts and financial affairs, so you can administer these.
In order to start probate, also known as a ‘grant of representation’, you will need to apply for it. You can do this on your own, but using a solicitor will ensure that the process is followed correctly and will take some of the burden from you if you are next of kin.
The first thing that should happen is the locating of the Will. Hopefully your loved one has made a Will and has appointed an executor. This will make the process much easier as you have the direction from your loved one and their wishes and you will not have to follow the restrictive rules of intestacy that apply when there is no Will. If there is no Will, a next of kin will have to apply for probate rather than the executor.
Your next step in the probate process is to apply for the grant of representation. This is done by completing a probate application form along with an inheritance tax form. There is some additional work that needs to be completed prior to applying for the grant of representation though.
You will need to know how much the estate is worth in order to calculate the inheritance tax and additionally, you will have to pay some of the inheritance tax owed by the estate before you have the legal right to access bank accounts and you may have to pay this yourself.
Once this has been completed you will need to swear an oath and give testament to the fact that the information you have given is true. You will then be issued with the grant of representation.
It may be preferable to ask a solicitor to help you complete this process as this can allow you to concentrate on coming to terms with your loss.
This information provided in this article is not intended to constitute legal advice and each relationship breakdown requires careful consideration in our view by a fully qualified Solicitor before decisions are made and before you embark on a certain course of action.
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