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  • Probate

    What is probate? Probate (or more specifically 'probate of the will') is an official form that gives the executors of the will the right to deal with the assets and property of the dead person. When you show the probate form to a bank, for example, they know they are dealing with the person who has the right to handle the estate, and they will allow you to withdraw money from the dead person's account. However,it is normally possible to get access to the dead personís money before you get probate if you need to pay inheritance tax.
    When you apply for probate, you are promising the Probate Court that you will deal with ('administer') the estate as set out in the will and according to law. If you don't do this, you will be in trouble with the court (and with the people who should benefit from the will). Probate makes sure that the executors carry out their task properly.
    When there is no will (or no executors are named in the will, or the executors have died), the official form is called 'letters of administration'.
    Do I always need to get probate?
    In some cases, you don't need to apply for probate. This is when:
    • the person who has died left very little (say, belongings and money amounting to less than £5,000);
    • everything they owned was held in joint names with someone to whom their share passes automatically (normally a husband or wife); or
    • any bank or building society accounts that the person had contain less than £5,000 each (though banks and building societies have the right to insist on probate in this case).

    However, you will need to apply for probate if the person who died had:
    • a bank, building society or National Savings account with more than £5,000 in it;
    • stocks or shares; or
    • property or land (unless it is owned as a joint tenancy and so passes automatically to the other owner).

    You may have to apply for probate if the person had any life insurance or term insurance policies that are paid to the estate. Some kinds of policy say that they will be paid straight to the beneficiaries of the policy (rather than to the estate), and you do not need probate for these.
    You will have to apply for probate if the person who has died gave away large gifts or sums of money (which, with the person's other assets, total more than a certain amount, called the 'nil rate band') in the seven years before they died. If so, inheritance tax must be paid on the amounts over the nil rate band. The amount of nil rate band is reviewed each year.
    Even if the gifts were not worth more than the nil rate band, their value must be added to the assets of the dead person, because the amount of inheritance tax is based on the value of the estate plus the value of any gifts made in the seven years before they died (excluding certain annual allowances).
    There is an important exception to the seven-year limit on gifts: if the person who died gave away their home but continued to live in it rent-free, (or paid an unreasonably low rent) its value will count towards the assets on which inheritance tax must be paid, regardless of when they gave it away.
    In most cases where there is no will you must apply for 'letters of administration', which serve the same purpose as probate. You apply for a grant of letters of administration in the same way you would apply for probate. However, as with probate, you may not have to apply for letters of administration if the person's estate was not worth very much.

    How do I apply for probate?
    You may apply in person for probate or letters of administration, or you may instruct a solicitor, who can apply on your behalf. You apply to:
    • the Principal Registry (in London); or
    • a district probate registry (in other cities and many large towns).

  • #2
    Re: Probate

    I am executor of my late mothers estate.My sister who is a beneificary of the will has closed my mother post office account and taken the money as an indemnifier i have been granted probate. What can i do?


    • #3
      Re: Probate

      Hiya as far as I understand it, what 'should' happen is that all monies from accounts, insurances the sale of properties etc should all go into one account then once its all collected in and all bills, taxes etc are paid out, only then can it be divided up between the beneficiaries.
      Unless of course a will was left then the wishes of the departed are carried out.
      Don't forget if your late mother had a pension being paid into the post office (as my mothers was) then sure as eggs is eggs the pensions people will have overpaid and will want the overpayment returned.
      Personally I'd tell your sister to hand over all monies she's taken, or deduct it from her inheritance out of the will.

      I expect someone else will pop along later with more info for you.


      • #4
        Re: Probate

        This article is very informative as it states exactly when a person is illegable to apply for probate. The only reason I know a little bit about this is because my friend was mentioning to me the other day that his cousin had to go through this process when her granmother died as she passed her some money after her death. She used ITC legal services attachment unapproved to help her in this situation as it would have otherwise been a messy process with famiy disagreements. He told he that this company had been very professional with advice and his cousin was always kept in the alert even though she did not get everything she felt she was entitled to as her siblings got some of her granmothers possessions as well.
        Last edited by Sapphire; 18th August 2010, 09:09:AM.


        • #5
          Re: Probate

          Yeah, ok, the thread is nearly a year old.

          I just thought I'd mention to anyone stumbling on here & reading the above post, that before acting on any recommend, Google search is your friend!!

          This is only my opinion - "
          Opinions are made to be changed --or how is truth to be got at?" (Byron)

          You and I do not see things as they are. We see things as we are.
          Cohen, Herb

          There is danger when a man throws his tongue into high gear before he
          gets his brain a-going.
          Phelps, C. C.

          "They couldn't hit an elephant at this distance!"
          The last words of John Sedgwick



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