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Do we really need to apply for a Grant of Probate?

Do we really need to apply for a Grant of Probate?

It can sometimes come as a surprise that a Grant of Probate is necessary when a valid Will is in place.

Probate is the process that the Executors need to go through in order to obtain the formal legal authority to deal with someone's property, money and assets after they have died (known as their 'Estate').

Whether or not a Grant of Probate is needed when someone dies will depend on a number of factors. This includes what assets are held in the deceased's sole name or held jointly as Tenants in Common and the value of those assets. Assets such as ISA's and NS&I Premium Bonds have to be held in an individual's sole name for income tax reasons and these are very often the reason that a Grant of Probate is necessary.

Probate is not always required for small Estates in England or Wales. Different banks or institutions set their own thresholds which will determine if the Executors will need to apply for a Grant of Probate. This averages around the £20,000 mark (although the Small Estates threshold has historically been set at £5,000), so if the person that has died has funds in their account in excess of the threshold then it is likely that the Bank or other institution will insist on seeing the Grant of Probate before they will close the account, sell or transfer shares or investments and sell or transfer property.

When the Death Certificate is presented to the bank or institution, they will normally advise what their requirements are regarding Probate.

What is involved in the application for a Grant of Probate?

When applying for a Grant of Probate you don't just have to focus on the assets that require a Grant of Probate so you can deal with them, you also need to provide lots of information (assets in the sole name of the deceased, assets held in joint names with the deceased, and any gifts made in last 7 years).

All assets need to be valued as at the date of death and, once the Executors have all of the facts and figures, they can then complete the necessary paperwork to be able to apply to the Probate Registry for the Grant of Probate.

Once the Grant has been issued this will allow the banks to close accounts, and any property or shares in the estate can either be sold or transferred in accordance with the terms of the Will.

How can we help?

We offer a Grant only or a full estate administration service, depending on how much assistance you require from us. When we meet up to discuss the estate in more detail, we will discuss the options available.

For individual advice and assistance contact our Wills, Probate and Trusts Team to find out how we can help.

Michelle Gavin TEP is a Partner in and Head of the Wills, Trusts and Probate team at Band Hatton Button LLP.

Direct Tel:   024 7623 7379

Main Tel:  024 7663 2121 |  Ext:  127


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