What is Probate / Grant of Probate?
When someone dies leaving property, money and other assets (know as their estate), you need to sort out who gets what.
To do this, you need what is known as a ‘grant of probate/representation’. This proves your authority to administer the estate. What form this takes will depend on whether a Will has been left.
If the deceased left a Will and appointed an executor (sometimes more than one executor is named), that person will need to get what is known as a ‘grant of probate’.
However, if there is no will, (died intestate) the next of kin apply for what is known as a ‘grant of letters of administration’.
The process of applying for the grant and the document you use to manage the estate is often generically referred to as probate.
Probate is the same for everyone in England, Wales and Northern Ireland, but if you live in Scotland it’s called (Confirmation).
Put simply, and in order, the executor’s job and the process of dealing with probate involves:
- Complete the Probate court application for a grant of probate, also the HMRC forms, dependent on the value of the estate, (Inheritance tax)
- Once grant has been given, Gathering any assets, eg, money left in bank accounts and other assets.
- Paying any bills
- Distributing what’s left according to the Will ie: to beneficiaries.
How long does probate take?
This is dependent on who does this for you, solicitor’s seem to have a timetable of there own, but as a rule of thumb if DB Consultancy does this for you provided there are no complications, it usually takes between six and ten weeks to get a grant of probate after we’ve submitted the application.
Once you’ve got it, the amount of time it takes to complete depends on the estate’s complexity. An estate that includes property to sell, or multiple shares and investments, will take longer to deal with than one simply consisting of money in a bank account.
Will I have to pay inheritance when administering the estate?
The amount of inheritance tax that needs to be paid depends on the total value of the estate.
The inheritance tax threshold for 2020/21 is £325,000 per person, so anything over that amount is usually liable to 40% tax. However, the inheritance tax threshold can be increased to £650,000 and in some cases to £1,000,000 for a married couple who own a residential property, the tax rate can also be reduced to 36% when a certain portion of the estate is left to charity.
We will always advise you on any tax saving we think you can make.
Does everyone need to use probate?
No. Many estates don’t need to go through this process. If there’s only jointly-owned property and money which passes to a spouse or civil partner when someone dies, probate will not normally be needed, but if you are unsure you can call us for advice which we will give freely.
How we compare to solicitors on the high street
Estate administration solicitors in the UK usually charge 1-5% of the estate’s value when administering an estate, which can end up costing in excess of £20,000 they can also charge hourly rates and £225.00 per hour plus vat is not unheard of.
At DB Consultancy we always quote a fixed-price upfront for our estate administration costs. And with fees starting at just £1,500 we can help you save money too. Most estates fall within our minimum fee structure.