As some of you may be aware, around a year ago my mother past away. Although we knew it was coming (she had terminal cancer) it was obviously still a real blow when it eventually happened.
Aside from the emotional struggles that came with her passing, there was also an underlining problem that caught us off guard. The financial barriers.
Luckily for us we never really struggled with money, my parents worked hard and had great jobs so we always had it pretty easy as kids. However, when she died we had a problem. My mother had too much money. Sounds crazy eh? That’s what we thought. Here in the UK, if you have over a certain amount of money then you must adhere to a process known as grant of probate.
Grant of probate is a lengthy process and it can be complicated to understand. below I have broken down the process and explained what you can do if you ever come up against it.
What is Probate?
You hear people use the term quote a lot but what is probate exactly? Probate is a term used to be granted the right to deal with a deceased person’s estate – which includes money, property, or possessions. In other words, probate gives you the legality to administer the assets of the deceased.
There are two scenarios that occur whenever a person passes on – either they leave a will or they don’t. A will makes it easier for the family or beneficiaries to deal with the deceased estate through an executor, while the lack thereof involves a lengthier process.
When a Will is Present?
When the deceased person leaves a will, one or more “executors” are typically named, who will be in charge in dealing with the division of the estate to the proper beneficiaries. The “executor” still however, has to apply for a “grant of probate,” which gives him the legal right to carry out the will. The granting of the probate is carried out from a section of the court known as the “probate registry.”
This document confirms the executor/s as the sole administrator of the will, and that he has the legal right to access the deceased person’s funds, sort out finances on his/her behalf, and carry out the contents of the will.
When a Will is Not Present
When the deceased individual did not leave a will, a close family member can apply to the probate registry to act as the administrator of the estate.
This relative must apply for a “grant of letters of administration.” When this grant is approved, then the person becomes the legal administrator of the estate of the deceased.
The term “personal representative” is a general term that refers to the executor or the administrator. The term “grant of representation” generally refers to the “grants of letters of administration” and the “grants of probate.”
When is a Grant Needed?
A grant is needed when the deceased leaves the following estate:
- Money worth 10,000 Pounds or more;
- Stocks or Shares;
- Property or Land held in his or her name
- Insurance Policies
The bank, company, or relevant institution that contains the deceased assets will need the grant and the deceased death certificate before they are able to transfer the control of the money, stocks, property, or insurance.
When assets are small, insurance companies or building societies may be able to release the money to the executor or family member at their own discretion. These companies may have differing terms and conditions in terms of claims.
When is a Grant Not Needed?
There are certain cases when a grant may not be needed to handle the estate of the deceased. A grant is not necessary when the deceased leaves the following:
- Money worth below 10,000 Pounds;
- Property or bank accounts that are owned jointly by a partner. In this case, everything passes automatically to the joint owner of the account or property.
An executor would still need to write the concerned institutions informing them of the death and including a photocopy of the death certificate in the letter.
According the Bereavement Support The personal representative or executor will not be granted probate, however, when there are still withstanding probate and inheritance tax payments that need to be fulfilled.