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Understanding Probate

By: Beth Morrisey MLIS - Updated: 7 Jun 2019 | comments*Discuss
 
Probate grant Of Probate letter Of

Probate is usually defined as the right to deal with a deceased individual’s estate. This is usually assumed by someone who was named as an executor in the deceased’s will or if there was no will then someone close to the deceased may apply in order to administer the estate. Continue reading for answers to some frequently asked questions regarding probate.

What Is Probate?
Probate is a legal term that is commonly used to describe both an application to execute/administer an estate and the official forms that give executors/administrators the right to deal with the deceased’s affairs. These forms prove to others that the individual who holds them has all necessary legal authority to deal with the estate.

What Kinds of Things Can Be Done with Probate?
Individuals who are granted probate must adhere to the wishes outlined in the deceased’s will. This includes dealing with all of the deceased’s assets, specifically his or her property, money and personal possessions. The grant of probate can be used to prove that the individual has the right to do these things. If there is no will, then the estate must be administered in the accordance with the laws of succession. In these cases, individuals who are granted letters of administration have the authority to deal with the deceased’s estate. However, at no time may these individuals simply do what they wish with the deceased’s estate.

What is a Grant of Confirmation?
A grant of confirmation is a term used in Scotland. If the deceased lived in Scotland, then a grant of confirmation is applied for in relation to probate.

Is a Grant of Probate Required for All Estates?
A grant of probate is not necessarily needed for all estates. If the deceased left less than £5,000 and all of his/her possessions were owned jointly with someone else (and therefore pass directly to the co-owner) then a grant of probate may not be needed. In order to establish if the estate meets these requirements, the executor/administrator should write directly to each institution involved and include copies of the death certificate and will in order to gain further information about the deceased’s assets. If the deceased held stocks or shares, insurance policies, or property and/or land held in his or her name (or as tenants in common) then a grant of probate will most likely be needed.

When Is Probate Granted?
Probate will not be granted to the executor/administrator of an estate until some, if not all, required inheritance tax is paid on the estate. A professional valuer or chartered surveyor may be able to help with valuing the estate in order to work out how much tax will be payable. A solicitor may also prove helpful with this process.

What Happens if There Is More than One Executor?
Up to four named executors can apply for a grant of probate and work together to execute the estate, though many times it is preferable that one executor is agreed upon to apply for the grant of probate and to sort out the will on his or her own.

Who Can Help With Probate?
A solicitor can apply for a grant of probate on behalf of the named executor. Many solicitors specialise in probate and will therefore be experienced in this matter. There will likely be a charge for their services, so inquire as to the cost before formally engaging the solicitor.

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My brother died earlier this year. He was not married but had two sons (9 and 10). He was survived by his parents and siblings. We applied for Grant of Probate, but were told that the only person that has standing for an application is my late brother’s ex partner (his sons’ mother). Is this right? They were never legally married, but the boys do live with her. The application was made by my mother as my late brother’s next of kin. We don’t have a good relationship with his ex partner and are worried that she will no administer his estate properly if given sole responsibility for it. Grateful for your guidance on this. Thanks!
Alexa - 7-Jun-19 @ 1:10 PM
My husband and I have resided with his father since 2009. In Nov 2017 my husband died of an accidental overdose. My father in law told me that day this house will alwayscbw my home no matter what. He said he was going to put it in my name along with my sister in laws name.I told him I didn't want it in my name but put it in my two daughters names instead. They are his granddaughters. He still insisted upon putting it in mine and my sister in laws name. Before he could do the deed change he became terminal with cancer. My sister in law is now hostile towards me and is threatening to kick me and my children out even before his death. Also my sister in law has not been around much in the last 4 years until my father in law got sick and she was being evicted. She now lives in the apartment that was made out if the garage that we did rent to a tenant until she got evicted and needed a place to stay. My family shouldn't be made to leave our home of 9 years because she and I don't get along. What are my legal rights? Does my father in laws verbal promise to leave the house in my name and my sister in laws still have to be honored? Do my 2 daughters his granddaughters have any legal right to his estate?
JM in Florida - 21-Apr-18 @ 7:06 AM
Hello I’ve been left as next of kin to my dad I’ve had a coroners death certificate and a letter from the corners office to go ahead with the funeral I’m not a well of person so have no money to pay for it I’m trying to gain access to his flat to see if he had a will or insurance to help with the cost know the council are telling me they can not let me in the flat as I’m not down as next of kin on his form which means they are getting there exzeutive to go to the property and look at the papers is that allowed as I’m not happy I’m not allowed to go in there
Leelou - 5-Mar-18 @ 6:13 PM
Irma - Your Question:
My mother's will states her property shall be for her 4 children. I solely reside the other 2 have no interest and 1 greedy sibling is seeking his share or sell. As EXECUTRIX I haven't probated because property taxes are delinquent. What are the options before probate. And why inheritance taxes are required

Our Response:
If the Will states that the property should be split between the children equally that's what should happen. If you are the executor of the Will it's your responsibility to ensure that it is carried out correctly. Probate is is usually always necessary when property (houses, buildings or land) was owned by the deceased. Inheritance tax is payable if the value of the estate is more than £350,000.
FacingBereavement - 29-Jan-18 @ 10:26 AM
My mother's will states her property shall be for her 4 children. I solely reside the other 2 have no interest and 1 greedy sibling is seeking his share or sell. As EXECUTRIX I haven't probated because property taxes are delinquent. What are the options before probate. And why inheritance taxes are required
Irma - 26-Jan-18 @ 4:56 AM
Hi my grandmother left her house to us 6 grandchildren when she passed but said my grandfather could live there until he passed. The solicitor valued the house and told us what we would receive however this was 5 years ago would the property not have valued in this time
Ljjj - 5-Jan-18 @ 7:06 PM
Dave - Your Question:
Hi just after some information please. My aunt has has to go through probate as my uncle has passed away an left no will our problem is it turns out my uncle was my father an my aunt has given this information to probate even though they put his brothers name on my birth certificate an I have always called him dad I was born in the sixties. If anyone could give us some information it would be much appreciated.regards DAVE.

Our Response:
It's likely that any inheritance would be based on the information on your birth certificate. You'd have to seek professional legal advice to take this further.
FacingBereavement - 6-Dec-17 @ 3:32 PM
Hi just after some information please. My aunt has has to go through probate as my uncle has passed away an left no willour problem is it turns out my uncle was my father an my aunt has given this information to probate even though they put his brothers name on my birth certificate an I have always called him dad I was born in the sixties. If anyone could give us some information it would be much appreciated.regards DAVE...
Dave - 6-Dec-17 @ 1:28 PM
I have lived with my dad for 20 years. He recently passed away. There is no will. I have 10 brothers and sisters. Do I have the right to still live in this house?
Hat - 22-Dec-16 @ 4:25 AM
my brother-in-law passed away last year left no will now my sister as passed away she left no will the house is still in her husbands name and some savings they had no children so who inherits they property only my sister had siblings
rellie - 21-Apr-16 @ 7:58 PM
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