When is Probate Required in the UK?
Probate is a term that you may have come across if you’ve recently suffered a bereavement. In the UK, the probate process can be complex and overwhelming, so it’s essential to understand when probate is required and when it’s not. If you haven’t already, check out our complete guide to probate.
First things first, what is Probate?
In strict legal terms, ‘probate’ refers to the validation by HMCTS (Her Majesty’s Courts and Tribunal Service) of a deceased person’s will. However, the term ‘Probate’ is more commonly used to describe the entire process of managing and administering the estate of a deceased person. This might include listing all their assets, calculating and paying inheritance tax, settling outstanding debts, and finally, distributing the estate to beneficiaries as per their will.
When is Probate Required in the UK?
Probate generally becomes necessary when a person’s estate contains property or assets of substantial value. In order for financial institutions, such as banks, to release funds from a deceased person’s account, probate is usually required. The amount that institutions will release without probate varies from £5,000 up to £50,000. Probate is also required prior to the completion of sale of a deceased person’s property.
When is Probate not Required?
Probate may not be required for low value estates. If the total value of an estate is below £5,000, it is unlikely that you will need a grant of probate. To determine if probate is necessary for estates over £5,000, it is best to contact the financial institutions used by the deceased to find out what their thresholds are.
If the estate includes joint assets then probate may not be needed. For example, funds can be released from joint bank accounts without probate. If the deceased held property as joint tenants, the property is transferred to the surviving owner through the right of survivorship. However, when a property is held by tenants-in-common, probate is usually required.
How does Probate work?
If there is a valid will, the named executors can apply to HMCTS for a grant of probate. In the absence of a valid will, strict rules dictate who can apply for probate. Before submitting a probate application, the estate must be valued. If the estate value is over a certain threshold, inheritance tax forms should be completed and submitted to HMRC. In some cases, executors must pay all or some of the inheritance tax that is due before probate will be granted.
If there is no will or the will is not valid, the executors will need to apply for ‘letters of administration.’
Probate Services in London and Southeast London
At Nichols & Co Probate Services, we understand that dealing with the affairs of a deceased loved one can be a challenging and emotional time. We offer professional probate services to help ease the burden and ensure a smooth and efficient probate process. Our services include estate planning, inheritance tax, probate applications and estate administration. We have years of experience in handling probate cases in London and Southeast London and have helped many clients navigate the complexities of the probate process.
In conclusion, probate is a legal process that is required when a person dies and leaves assets, money, and possessions that are worth more than £5,000. The probate process can be complex, and it’s essential to seek professional probate services to ensure that the process is handled efficiently and effectively.
At Nichols & Co, our complete Probate service offering helps ease the burden and ensure a smooth and efficient probate process. If you need probate services in London or Southeast London, get in touch with us today to learn more about how we can help.