Frequently Asked Questions About Probate
Answer: Probate is the legal process of administering a deceased person’s estate, including their assets, debts, and distributing their property as per their will or intestacy laws.
Answer: Not all estates require probate. Smaller estates with minimal assets or assets held jointly with a surviving spouse may not need probate.
Answer: Probate can take several months, but it depends on the complexity of the estate and any disputes that may arise. We’re currently seeing most probate cases taking 6-9 months.
Answer: The cost of probate can vary widely, but it typically includes court fees and solicitor fees. Solicitor fees are normally a percentage of the estate value or are charged hourly. Final Duties offer fixed fee probate which often means we undercut our competitors.
Answer: A grant of probate is a legal document that confirms the executor’s authority to manage the deceased person’s estate.
Answer: If there’s no will, the estate will be distributed according to intestacy laws, which prioritize surviving spouses and close relatives. As there is no will, there won’t be any executors appointed so willing parties will have to apply for letters of administration.
Answer: They are the laws that come into play when someone dies without a will in place. They dictate who will inherit the estate. The rough order of inheritance is spouses and civil partners, then children, grandchildren, great-grandchildren, and then other relatives. Unmarried partners won’t receive anything from the estate unless its stipulated in the will.
Answer: Yes, you can challenge a will if you have valid reasons, such as undue influence, fraud, or lack of mental capacity when the will was created.
Answer: To apply for probate, you’ll need to complete the necessary forms, submit them to the Probate Registry, and pay the required fees. This may seem simple, but it’s important to understand the extent of the work and liability you take on as an executor.
Answer: Executors are responsible for gathering assets, paying debts and taxes, and distributing the estate to beneficiaries according to the will or intestacy laws.
Answer: It’s generally not advisable to distribute assets before probate is granted, as this can lead to legal complications. If you are also a beneficiary and you’re in need of the assets within the estate, then there are options available to support you. Enquire with us today for more details.
Answer: Yes, there is an Inheritance tax (IHT) in the UK, which may apply to estates over £325,000.
Answer: Inheritance tax on an estate needs to be paid within six months of the date of death.
Answer: You can use various strategies, including making gifts, setting up trusts, and using exemptions and reliefs, to minimise inheritance tax liability.
Answer: Yes, you can act as an executor if you live abroad, but it may involve additional paperwork and considerations. There is also the strong likelihood that you will have to travel to the UK to complete certain roles as an executor.
Answer: Joint assets typically pass directly to the surviving joint owner through sole survivor ownership and do not form part of the deceased’s estate.
Answer: You can check with the deceased person’s solicitor, the Probate Registry, or the Will Register to locate a missing will. If you need help finding a will or assets for an estate, then enquire with us and we can help you utilise all the tools at your disposal.
Answer: Yes, an executor can be removed if they fail to fulfil their duties or are found unsuitable. A court order may be required.
Answer: If you have concerns or questions about probate, then contact us today and we’ll be able to help. It’s always best to consult with a probate expert for legal advice as acting improperly can result in you being liable to the beneficiaries for damages.
Answer: Firstly, you need to have the estate valued, with this figure being reported to HMRC and then any inheritance tax that is due will have to be paid. Once the IHT (inheritance tax) has been paid on the estate, you can then make the application for probate. If there is a will in place you will need the original document as well as 2 copies and the death certificate. If the estate is valued at over £5,000 there will be an application fee of £273 that must paid with the application that can be made online or in the post.
Answer: Digital assets, such as online accounts and cryptocurrencies, should be included in the estate and dealt with in accordance with the will or intestacy laws.
Answer: In some cases, you can distribute personal possessions without probate, but it’s advisable to seek legal guidance to avoid disputes.
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