Probate is the complete process of administering the estate of a person who has died. This involves gaining control of the estate, meeting liabilities, and distributing the assets in accordance with the Will or administered under the intestacy rules if there is no Will.
If there is a Will, the person applying for probate is known as an executor and they will receive a “grant of probate”. However, if there is no will the person is known as an administrator and they will obtain “letters of administration”.
There are three main stages of probate.
Stage one involves identifying and contacting asset holders and creditors. The balance at the date of death is required for inheritance tax purposes. Once this has been established the tax forms will need to be completed.
Stage two consists of applying for the grant of probate or letters of administration. There are two types of inheritance tax forms, IHT205 and IHT400.
IHT205 is used when the estate is not subject to inheritance tax and IHT400 is required for estates valued over £325,000.
The HMRC will return a stamped receipt which is sent to the Court to provide a grant of probate or letters of administration.
Stage three requires all asset holders and creditors to be notified for assets to be released and liabilities to be met. Once this has been done the estate can be distributed in line with the Will or under the intestacy rules.
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Senior Associate Solicitor