All you need to know about Probate

How to apply for and deal with a deceased person’s assets and affairs

‘Probate’ is effectively a court order which allows someone to apply for and deal with a deceased person’s assets and affairs.

The term ‘Grant of Probate’ is widely used when someone applying for ‘Probate’ has the authority to do so in a Will, known as the ‘Executor’.

The term ‘Grant of Letters of Administration’ is widely used when someone applying for ‘Probate’ has the authority to do so under the rules of ‘Intestacy‘ which governs who can apply to deal with the deceased’s estate when there is no Will, known as the ‘Administrator’.

Do I need to apply for probate?

Every estate is different but as a general rule of thumb is that you need ‘Probate’ if an establishment like a bank, pension or life policy company ask for it or if the deceased owns assets in their sole name worth over £15,000 (although this is not always the case).

Cornerstone Wills can help

Whether you are an ‘Executor’ or ‘Administrator’ you have the power in law to appoint a professional company like Cornerstone Wills to act on your behalf.

If you are not sure whether probate is required or would simply like a quotation, please give us a call for a free, confidential and no obligation advice.

Our fees are fixed (based on our estimates of the work we are required to do) at an agreed price with you before we start any work and put simply, this is what you will be charged.  We not charge an hourly rate nor a percentage of the estate which can often lead to unwanted or unexpected high costs.

Difference services for different needs

Depending on your requirements and the complexity of the estate you are having to deal with, Cornerstone Wills will be able to offer you a service that meets these needs.

The Forms Only Service

With our “forms only” service you will provide all the information and we simply prepare the forms required to obtain a Grant of Probate using the data you provide to us.  You retain all of the liability and post-probate administration tasks for the estate and for any tax payable.

This service gives you the comfort of knowing that the form has been completed by a specialist in this field which will significantly reduce the risk of a mistake occurring and, hence, removing and queries from the Probate Registry.  Once Grant of Probate has been obtained our involvement ends leaving you to deal with the assets and any further administration of the estate.

The Complete Service

This is a complete service from start to finish.  If you decide to opt for this service our Probate Team will deal with everything in the estate for you on your behalf once you have registered the death of the person for whose Will you have been appointed as an executor.

You will have access to our Probate Team for any queries or any problems that may arise throughout the process and because of our fees are fixed and agreed up front based on the work we are required to do, you will not be charged for every query you raise.

We can take away the stress of informing all relevant persons and organisations – Banks, Life Assurance Companies, Employers, Local Authorities, Inland Revenue, etc.  We will deal with all of the forms required by the Probate Registry and HMRC so that it can be established whether any Inheritance Tax (IHT) is payable or if any income tax is due to be reimbursed to the estate.  If any IHT is due then we will advise you and liaise with the beneficiaries, HMRC and the Probate Courts to ensure that payment is sourced and paid within the required timescales.

We will open an executor bank account for the deceased’s assets and when the Grant of Probate is received we can collect in the assets, pay any outstanding liabilities, ensure bankruptcy and creditor checks are done and then the estate can be distributed in accordance with the terms of the Will.  We prepare the estate accounts, balance it with the bank account and ensure that you as the appointed Executor of the Will approve the estate accounts and all parties get a copy when the estate is ready for distribution.  It is at this point that we are also paid for our services.

As part of the final Estate Administration we can ensure that if there are any trusts in the Will, these are enacted as part of the estate distribution process.

Additionally, through our professional partners we can arrange to sell the deceased’s house, organise specialist insurance whilst the building may be empty and deal with conveyancing issues on your behalf, if required.