What are the steps of a probate process?
Losing a family member, partner or friend is emotionally taxing but managing a will and the distribution of assets can cause further, unwanted stress. Probate solicitors in Portsmouth work closely with you to make this time-consuming and often complicated process easier.
Probate solicitors in Portsmouth are tasked with identifying and distributing assets, managing wills, working closely with HMRC, and finalising the transferal of assets. If the deceased owns any properties, legal aid is required, according to the law in England and Wales. Probate solicitors in Portsmouth can be costly, but the work they do is necessary to make the settling of asset entitlement fair and easier for the family and friends involved.
What is a probate?
A probate is a financial and legal process used in dealing with property, money, and possessions of a deceased person. Before the executor of the will can claim, sell, or transfer the assets, they will first have to apply for a probate and once granted, will decide what happens to them.
However, if the deceased did not leave a will, this is known as a dying intestate and the beneficiaries (those who would receive the assets) would be determined by the rules of intestacy. Put simply, the law would decide who is entitled to what, including anything from the deceased’s estate to their pets.
The first step
The primary step of the probate process is identifying the deceased’s assets as well as their liabilities. Assets can be anything from an estate to investments, bank accounts to pets and their liabilities can take form in debt, such as utility bills and bank loans. A probate solicitor would also verify entitlement under the terms of the will by obtaining identification documents of the beneficiaries.
This involves paying inheritance tax to HMRC if applicable and submitting the right tax return which is required, regardless of whether tax is due or not. Your solicitor would also apply for the probate registry for the grant of representation, a document verifying the legal authority to manage the estate.
The grant of representation, once issued by the probate registry, will liquidate the deceased’s assets, pay the final estate administration costs, settle their liabilities, and account to HMRC for any outstanding inheritance tax, capital gains tax due from the estate of income tax.
This step prepares estate accounts documenting all payments made into and out of the estate. It will also show the remaining balance for distribution to the rightful beneficiaries. Once settled, the estate accounts would then be sent to a personal representative for approval, such as the executor of the will.
This is the final stage and usually the simplest. If there are no external challenges to the estate or factors that could interrupt distribution, the assets will be transferred to the beneficiaries and the estate funds will be distributed.
If you have recently lost someone close to you and need to appoint an experienced probate solicitor, contact us on the details below and we would be happy to discuss the next steps with you.