Money, Property and Probate Advice

A practical guide for family and friends

When a person dies, someone will need to deal with their money, property and any other assets that are left behind. Together these assets are known as the deceased person’s Estate.

If there is a Will the responsibility will be with the named Executor who is legally responsible for collecting in all the money, paying any debts and correctly distributing the estate to those people entitled. This whole process is called Estate Administration, and part of the process may involve having to apply for Probate. Probate is the process of obtaining a legal document from the Probate Registry to prove you have authority to deal with the estate.

A Grant of Representation (also known as Grant of Probate or Grant of Confirmation) is the official court-sealed document issued by the Probate Registry that includes a copy of the deceased’s Will. It is called a Grant of Letters of Administration if there is no Will, but the document serves the same purpose. Once Probate has been granted the Executor or Administrator can begin dealing with the deceased person’s Estate, which will include their money, property and possessions that they may have left.

With the Grant of Probate, it will be possible to collect money being held in banks, and any stocks and shares, investments and life insurance. Banks may approve to release funds without seeing a Grant of Probate, but this is dependent on their own limits which differ between each bank and can be as low as £5,000. The Executor or Administrator will then also be able to deal with any property that the deceased person may have owned. This would include selling a property outright or transferring it into another person’s name.

How to Apply for Probate

To apply for Probate in England or Wales, you need to complete and send a number of forms to Probate Registry along with the original Will, the death certificate, Inheritance Tax forms and the application fee. You may choose to use a Probate specialist who can act on your behalf thus utilising their knowledge base and experience.

If submitting Inheritance and Income Tax forms yourself it is essential to have a detailed check before doing so as you can be held financially liable for any mistakes made during the Estate administration process, which can take up to a year and even more in complicated cases.

If you require free advice as to whether you will need Probate, then you can call the following number which is provided at no cost by the Bereavement Support Network. They will be able to advise on likely costs if it is needed and point you to the appropriate resources should you wish to complete the process yourself.

To find out if you will need Probate call freephone 0808 168 5181.