Managing your probate
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How to manage probate
without any hassle




Probate is the process you must go through in order to distribute the estate of the deceased. The process is concluded when a Grant of Probate or Grant of Letters of Administration is issued, which allows you to sell assets, access savings and realise life insurance awards.
It can be characterised by delays and red tape, so anyone who wants to minimise the hassle should get to grips with the basics.


Who undertakes probate?


If you are named as the executor of a will the chances are it is you who will have to go through the probate process. That said, if an executor cannot for whatever reason fulfil their responsibilities any other person names in the will can become the 'administrator' of a will and undertake probate. If no will has been left, there is no executor, so it is the administrator that takes on the responsibility.


What are the steps of the process?


Getting a Grant takes time, so there is no time to spare. This is how the process unfolds.


Take stock


This document is your legal endorsement as an executor or administrator and is issued by the Probate Service. You need it before you can go about accessing assets or dealing with Inheritance Tax issues.


There are reasons why one might not be required - if the estate is valued below £5,000-15,000 or is passed on to a surviving spouse or partner for instance - but there are vagaries and it is best to seek advice from a reputable legal service such as Co-op Legal Services.


Get a valuation of the estate, fill in the relevant application forms and an Inheritance Tax form, even if no tax is payable (for 2012/13 the tax threshold is £325,000). Submit these forms along with the death certificate, the original will and the fee to your nearest Probate Registry.


Pay Inheritance Tax


The Grant of Probate will not be issued until some or all of the inheritance tax on the estate is paid. Tax usually needs to be paid within six months of the death before it becomes overdue.




Once the tax has been paid and the forms have been submitted, you will usually have to wait for around two weeks for the process to kick on. If there are complications with your case, this can extend to 12 weeks or beyond.


The Probate Registry will examine your forms and prepare documentations for an interview you may have to take before swearing an oath. The oath is sworn by all applicants for the Grant, most commonly in a solicitor's office, and is the final stage before the Grant is delivered by post.
What does probate allow you to do?


With probate granted, you can now go about executing administering to the estate.

Funds over £15,000 can be released to those dictated by the will, shares and property can be distributed or sold and pay-outs on life insurance policies can be released.

The process seems relatively simple when put down on paper, but it is one that is fraught with complications, forms and delays. Many people choose to use the services of a probate service such as Co-op Legal, and it is no difficult to see why. With expertise in the field, they can expedite the granting of probate and help the bereaved focus on their loss rather than negotiate a bureaucratic minefield.






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