The Probate Process

March, 2024

Probate is the legal process of administering the estate of a deceased person in the UK. The process involves obtaining the legal authority to deal with the deceased's assets, settle debts, and distribute the remaining estate to the beneficiaries. Here is a general overview of the probate process in the UK:

Identify the Executor or Administrator:

The executor is named in the deceased's will and is responsible for administering the estate.

If there is no will or no executor is named, an administrator is appointed, typically a close relative.

Register the Death:

The death must be registered with the local registrar within five days.

Valuation of the Estate:

The executor or administrator needs to determine the value of the deceased's assets and liabilities.

Apply for Grant of Probate or Letters of Administration:

If the deceased left a will, the executor applies for a Grant of Probate from the Probate Registry.

If there is no will, the administrator applies for Letters of Administration.

The application includes a completed probate application form, an inheritance tax form, the will (if applicable), and the application fee.

Pay Inheritance Tax:

If the estate is subject to inheritance tax, it must be paid before probate is granted. Some exemptions and reliefs may apply 

Probate Registry Processing:

The Probate Registry reviews the application, and once satisfied, issues the Grant of Probate or Letters of Administration.

Collect Assets and Settle Debts:

The executor or administrator gathers the deceased's assets, pays any outstanding debts, and settles liabilities.

Distribute the Estate:

After settling debts and expenses, the remaining assets are distributed among the beneficiaries according to the terms of the will or intestacy rules.

Finalise Tax Matters:

Ensure that any outstanding tax matters are resolved, including income tax and capital gains tax. 

Complete Probate Registry Forms:

The executor or administrator completes the necessary probate registry forms, detailing the assets and how they were distributed 

File the Probate Registry Forms:

The completed forms are submitted to the Probate Registry for record-keeping.

Closure of Probate:

Once all steps are completed, the estate is considered settled, and probate is officially closed. 

It's important to note that the probate process can vary depending on the complexity of the estate and the presence of a valid will. Seeking legal advice or the assistance of a probate professional can be helpful, especially in more complicated cases.

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