Final Duties are aware that the administration of an estate and applying for probate can be a long and stressful process. So we have created a guide to the steps of probate in order to help you break down the process into manageable sections if you were looking to DIY probate. Please be aware that the process differs in Scotland and Northern Ireland therefore please follow the links for more information.
Many of the steps of probate will be linked to other blog posts which go into more detail about that subject. We have also linked the relevant HMRC and Government websites in order to help you find any further information that you might need.
Here are final duties steps of probate,
1. Value the Estate. You should contact all the institutions relevant to the estate and have any accounts frozen whilst collecting statements of their final balances. Arrange for any property and assets to be valued. You will be able to establish if you need to apply for probate during this process and whether the estate is eligible to pay inheritance tax.
2. Complete the relevant paperwork. Some institutions may not require probate and may just ask you to fill in a form and provide a death certificate. These forms are quite quick and simple and can be done early on. You should also identify and complete the relevant PA1 and IHT forms, which forms you need to use will depend on whether the estate is liable for inheritance tax.
3. Send your probate application to the relevant government bodies. In England and Wales, that’s the Probate Registry and HM Revenue & Customs (HMRC). There are several Probate registries around the country, take a look at our Probate Registry and Office Directory to find your closest one.
4. Pay whatever tax is due. All or at least some of the inheritance must be paid before probate will be granted. This is something to bear in mind if you are looking to apply for probate yourself.
5. Swear an oath. You must attend in person either a Probate Registry/local Probate Office or a commissioner of oaths to sign an oath swearing the information in your application is correct. Probate will be granted within 10 days of accepting the oath.
6. Provide the probate document to the relevant institutions. Once you have received the probate documents you can start to collect any assets held with institutes that required probate. Banks and other organisations will ask to see this before they allow access to the deceased’s assets.
7. Pay any debts owed by the estate. This includes any remaining inheritance tax, mortgages or loans owed by the deceased. This can also include things like solicitor’s fees, executor expenses or utility bills.
8. Distribute the estate according to the wishes in the Will or according to the rules of intestacy. Please note legacies, meaning specific amounts of cash, will be paid out before any residual beneficiaries.
Every Estate is different, and some are more complicated than others. If at any point whilst going through the steps of probate you feel not confident or overwhelmed, you can speak to a member of our probate team on 08007318722 or send us an inquiry via our website.