Everything you need to know about probate: Probate is a general term that is used to refer to the administration of the estate of a deceased person after a grant was obtained.
A grant of probate refers to an official court document that is used to assure third parties such as building societies, banks and land registries that the will is valid. It also ensures them that they are dealing with the right people who have been appointed to administer the estate.
Grants are however not always required. You would need to have one only if the deceased person owned a house or land in their name.
Wills and probate go hand in hand, which means that the will of the deceased cannot be acted upon unless the probate has issued, Everything you need to know about probate.
Will you need a solicitor for the probate process?
Dealing with the estate of a deceased person is a complicated process, and the executors appointed by the will have the obligation of ensuring that the terms of the will are understood, and if the deceased died intestacy, i.e., he didn’t have a will, they must follow the rules as well.
If you are the executor, your role has no limit, and long after the will was administered, you are still required to deal with any matters that may arise as a result of the estate.
You can also be held personally liable in case any mistakes made during the administration process, and you may end up paying compensation to a beneficiary who may not have received their entitlement.
Therefore, using a solicitor during the probate process is advisable, and it guided by professional rules of conduct.
Everything you need to know about probate
What you need to do before submitting the will to probate:
The first thing you will do as an executor of the will is to go through it and determine who are the beneficiaries, the assets and value of said assets that were owned by the deceased, and also the amount of debt the dead was in.
You may also need to open up a bank account in
the name of the estate, to channel any monies that may come into the estate.
List of beneficiaries:
As mentioned earlier, you will need to identify who are the beneficiaries of the estate from the will. Go a step further and list them down. This list should include the following information:
- Their names
- Their address
- Their phone numbers
- Their email addresses
- Their date of birth
- Their national insurance numbers
In case someone named in the will is dead, you
must obtain their death certificate as well.
Take a complete inventory of the estate:
You must put together a list of everything the deceased owned. It should be a comprehensive list that includes the following:
● All trusts
● The balances in his checking and saving accounts
● The amount of cash he had at hand
● All stocks and brokerages accounts
● His saving bonds
● His life insurance policies
● His retirement plans
● All his benefits
● His real property such as – Real estate, Jewellery, art, cars, and property
Besides, you must include the following information:
● The name under each property
● The percentage of an estate he owned
● The fair market value of the properties
● Whether a beneficiary already owned any of the features
Make a list of all his debts:
This list should include organizations, people and companies he owed money too. Include in the list should also be:
- Credit card debts.
- Student loans
- Medical bills
- Child support
- Payday loans
Can you probate the loan yourself?
Yes, as an administrator, as long as the grant was issued, you can apply the probate personally, but there is so much more than meets the eye, and you must be extra careful because remember we said that you should be personally liable in case of mistakes.
If you decide to start the process personally
and mid-way through you get bogged down by the process, you can still go to
court for assistance.
How much will probate cost?
It will depend on the value of the estate that has left on the will. Solicitors and banking institutions can charge anywhere between 5-10%, which is quite expensive.
What you can do to reduce the cost is to opt
for a fixed fee, where you agree on an amount which you pay upfront, and no
more shall be required of you even after the process is over.
How long does the probate take?
The entire process from the grant to probate should take around 8-12 weeks. The administration process, however, can take a much longer time, and it is not possible to even approximate the length of time as it depends on the size of the estate.
What if the deceased died without making a will?
When someone dies without a will and
naturally, the next of kin will inherit the estate. It is called intestate, and
the courts will decide it as per the rules of intestacy. If you do not make a
will, when you die, some of your family members may miss out on their
inheritance, and it may even lead to fights in the family.
Probate may seem like a simple process, but it is in fact quite complicated and the administration may end up taking years and years. Always ensure you have a very clear will in place just in case of anything so your dependants can be taken care of quickly and stress-free.
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