Probate is the legal authority to handle someone’s estate when they die – this includes organising and distributing their possessions according to the wishes expressed in their Will or to the rules of intestacy if they don’t have a Will.
A legal document, probate provides the right for an individual to distribute an estate and complete the process of probate – also referred to as estate administration.
Who Can Apply For Probate?
If there is a Will, the person named as an executor within the Will can apply for a grant of probate. If there is no Will, the closest living relative can apply for a Letters of Administration document.
What Does Probate Do?
By getting a grant of probate or Letters of Administration, the executor or personal representative is able to access the deceased’s estate. The estate includes all property and possessions.
With probate, the individual has the legal right to access the deceased’s bank account and to organise their property and possessions, ready to distribute to the beneficiaries.
How Long Does Probate Take?
The probate process varies depending on the size and complexity of the estate. For smaller and more straightforward estates, it takes between 2-4 months to get a grant of probate or Letters of Administration.
To complete the process can take several months and even years, depending on the nature of the estate.
Is Probate Always Needed?
No, probate is not normally needed for estates worth less than £5,000.
Spouses and civil partners are usually exempt from probate as jointly owned property would automatically pass to them anyway. However, probate would still be needed for any property the deceased owned in their own name or property owned as tenants in common.
To check if probate is needed, you could contact the deceased’s financial organisations such as bank or mortgage provider to ask if you can transfer assets without probate. Each organisation has its own rules on probate.
Can You Complete Probate Yourself?
Yes, you can apply for probate and handle the estate administration yourself. Or you can use a specialist probate solicitor who would ensure the process is completed efficiently and accurately.
How We Can Help You With Probate
Our specialist probate solicitors have the legal knowledge to assist you with your application for a grant of probate or Letters of Administration as well as carry out all duties for estate administration on your behalf.
Whether it is to distribute the estate according to the deceased’s Will or the rules of intestacy, our probate solicitors will help you by speeding up the process for you and providing the reassurance that everything has been done on time and with full compliance.
To speak to us about probate or administering an estate on your behalf, you can arrange a face-to-face consultation with one of our specialist solicitors in our Bartletts Solicitors Hoole office at Martins Bank Chambers, 31 Hoole Road, Chester CH2 3NF. Alternatively, you can contact us on 01244 311 633 or by email on firstname.lastname@example.org