Why do I need probate?

What is Probate?
I was on a course this week about Probate and Administration, as I am anxious to provide this extra service to my clients.
After all, it has been quite difficult to persuade people to make Wills.
Only 25% of the adult population in England and Wales have made Wills, (believe it or not, that figure has not changed in 40 years!)
People are not persuaded that they absolutely need a Will. However, whether they know it or not, they will almost always have to get Probate.
Probate is the process by which one person – the Executor – can deal with property which doesn’t belong to him.
For example, he can’t simply sell the deceased’s house. He needs the legal authority to do so and that will be in the form of the Grant of Probate. That authority applies not just to selling the house, but also to selling all the assets and to distributing the funds in accordance with the Will – if there is one.
What are the exceptions? Sometimes, a bank concerned will release money without waiting for the Probate, but that is upto the bank to decide – there is no legal obligation.
You have to be careful. A report has to be sent to the Inland Revenue (or more accurately the HMRC), in which valuations for the assets are put down. There are two types of report depending on whether Inheritance Tax is payable or not.
We don’t tend to think of these things until we need them – I find that those who are most committed are people who have been through the process before when a relative has died, and doesn’t want to go through that again.
Don’t leave it until then – I can help! Give me a ring and I’ll come and see you to discuss.

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