Probate is the legal process of dealing with a person’s money, possessions, and final wishes, after they have died.
The process of probate tends to involve a great deal of complicated legal and financial work, including:
- Identifying the deceased’s assets, such as any property, investments, and possessions, as well as their liabilities and debts, in order to identify the value of their Estate.
- Verifying entitlement to the estate, based on either the terms of the deceased’s will or, if they did not leave a will, in accordance with the law governing Intestacy.
- Calculating if and how much inheritance tax is due, paying this to HMRC, and submitting a completed Inheritance Tax Return.
- Applying for a Grant of Representation (Grant of Probate) from the Probate Registry – this confirms the holder’s legal authority to administer the estate.
- Selling any assets, settling any liabilities, paying the final administration expenses, reporting to HMRC regarding any additional Inheritance Tax, Income Tax, or Capital Gains Tax required as a result of the estate.
- Preparing the Estate accounts – these should document all payments into and out of the Estate, and outline the remaining balance and how it will be distributed to any beneficiaries.
- Dealing with any challenges to the estate before transferring assets to the relevant beneficiaries.
As well as being a complex legal process, dealing with probate can also be an emotional and stressful experience, which is why many people call upon professional solicitors for guidance. As well as providing reassurance that you are following the correct procedure, this approach can also help to prevent family rows and disputes.
There are number of complications that can make the probate process even more challenging, including:
- If the Estate is worth over the Inheritance Tax threshold and is not exempt from tax
- If there are doubts about the validity of the will
- If there is no will and the deceased was married with children and left an estate worth over £250,000
- If dependants have been left out of the will but have a potentially valid claim for support from the estate
- If the estate contains complicated arrangements such as assets held in trust
- If the estate is insolvent or if there are doubts about the solvency of the estate
- If the estate includes foreign property
- If the deceased was domiciled outside the UK for tax purposes
If any of these complications apply, then it is highly advisable to seek professional legal advice.Our dedicated team of professional lawyers is highly trained and experienced when it comes to all aspects of probate law. Ensuring that we are constantly up to date with changes in law and tax regulations, we are able to offer straightforward and reliable advice. So if you require any help, guidance, or assistance with probate or the surrounding issues, please do not hesitate to contact us on 0800 468 10 11 or 020 8961 0045.
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