applying-for-probate

Executor – Step 3 – Probate

You are the executor of someone you care about.  You have obtained enough copies of the death certificate and you have made a payment (if needed) of Inheritance Tax.

The next step is arranging probate.

Probate gives you the legal right to deal with a person’s estate: their property, money and possessions.

At the end of this piece there is a list taken from Citizens Advice about circumstances when you may not need to apply for probate.

How to apply

Government Probate Helpline 0300 123 1072

If there is a will

You need the will and any updates. These must be original documents, not photocopies.

The cost of a grant of probate is £215, with a small additional cost of £1.50 for each copy.  See document PA3 Probate Fees

 

If you want to apply in English:

You can apply for probate online

or

You can apply for probate by post. Form PA1P

 

If you want to apply in Welsh:

You can apply for probate by post.  Form PA1P.  Send it to your local Probate Registry.

 

If you are applying from Scotland or Northern Ireland, the Government advises to contact the Government Probate Helpline 0300 123 1072

 

There is a comprehensive booklet from the Government with detailed advice:

How to obtain probate: a guide for people acting without a solicitor (PA2)

The Government says that you’ll receive the grant of probate and any copies you’ve ordered within 20 working days of your documents being received.

According to CitizensAdvice.org.uk

‘If you’re on a low income or having financial problems you can apply to pay a reduced fee or not fee at all. You can apply online or download a form to print off on GOV.UK at www.gov.uk.’

If there is no will:

Government Probate Helpline 0300 123 1072 

Welsh language helpline 0845 302 1489

Opening hours Monday to Friday, 9am to 5pm

You can apply for ‘letters of administration’ by post only.

There are rules about which relative can apply for this – see the booklet mentioned above – How to obtain probate.

NB If you have been living with the deceased, even for many years, and you were not married or in a civil partnership, you are not entitled to apply.

You will need Form PA1A in English or Welsh.

 You will need to send the following documents with form PA1A

  • Inheritance Tax Summary Form: IHT205 or IHT207, and IHT217 if applicable, signed by all applicants.
  • A copy of any foreign wills or any wills dealing with assets held outside England and Wales (and if not in English, an English translation).
  • An official copy (not a photocopy) of the death certificate, or a coroner’s interim certificate of the person who has died.

There is a fee of £215 for each ‘grant of representation’ and another fee of 50p for each copy.

When you do NOT need probate or letters of administration.

According to Citizens Advice

You may not need probate or letters of administration if:

  • the estate is just made up of cash (that is, bank notes and coins) and personal possessions such as a car, furniture, and jewellery;
  • all the property in the estate is owned as beneficial joint tenants (not tenants in common). This property automatically becomes wholly owned by the other owner;
  • there was a joint bank account between a couple;
  • the amount of money is small, this depends on each bank or building society;
  • the estate is insolvent, that is, there is not enough money in the estate to pay all the debts, taxes and expenses;
  • there are certain life insurance policies and pension benefits in the estate.

Next steps

Probate or letters of administration will be sent to you in the post. This will include details of the value of the estate. A photocopy of the will, stamped to prove it is an official copy, will also be sent.

Once you have got probate or letters of administration, you can begin to deal with the estate finances and pay debts and fees.

NB The information in this blog is not legal guidance. It is what I have found while researching to compile a handbook called ‘To My Executor’ that I hope may help families make dealing with death a little easier practically.  It applies to England and Wales.

 

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