When a person passes away, there are certain formalities that need to take place. The term probate refers to the process that comes into play when an estate needs to be handled or distributed after death.
Many people mistakenly believe that they simply need to register their loved one’s passing with the authorities, pass over a copy of the Will to a solicitor, and wait for everything to run its course. But it’s rarely that simple. There are a lot of responsibilities to contend with – and all at an intensely upsetting and stressful time for you and your family.
This is why more and more people are choosing to instruct our probate legal team in Hertfordshire instead of handling all the legal work themselves. If we are instructed as the executors of the Will, we can collect all the necessary documents, liaise with all the relevant parties, and make sure all your loved one’s wishes are carried out to the letter.
What to expect from the probate administration process
The estate administration procedure involves handling all the deceased’s financial and practical affairs. The process itself can differ from case to case, but generally speaking, the executor will be expected to locate and interpret the Will; pay any outstanding bills; close bank accounts; inform banks, employers and the authorities about the person’s death; arrange for their estate to be valued; distribute the estate to all beneficiaries; handle all matters relating to inheritance tax; and store all records according to the minimum legal requirements.
As you can imagine, probate can become a long, drawn-out operation, especially if the person has passed away intestate (ie, without a Will). If there are no clear instructions, it will take some time to work out who is entitled to what, and how funds and assets can be released from trusts and other vehicles. And even if a Will is present, you will still need to apply for a Grant of Probate, which involves working your way through a mountain of paperwork and swearing the oath to gain permission to administer the estate.
Preparing for probate
If the thought of managing your loved one’s affairs yourself feels overwhelming, don’t worry – help is at hand. The team here at The Will Group has a great deal of experience in guiding clients through probate, and we’re here to help you make sense of it all.
To make sure the probate process is as hassle-free as it can be, it helps if you can provide us with the following:
• Your loved one’s will, if you have it
• An official copy of their death certificate
• Information on bank accounts, pensions, life insurance plans and other investments or policies
• Information on debtors and other organisations the person had accounts with