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When someone passes away, financial institutions are unlikely to release any assets in the Estate belonging to the Deceased (money, property and possessions) without a “Grant of Probate” (if they left a Will) or “Grant of Letters of Administration” (if they died Intestate, meaning without a Will). A Grant may not be required by financial institutions if the value of the Deceased’s Estate is fairly modest, however will always be required where there is a property.

In the event that the Deceased has left a Will, the Executors (those named in the Will) are entitled to deal with the Estate. When a Will has not been left, the Intestacy Rules detail who has the authority to deal with the Estate and they are referred to as an Administrator.

A Grant is an official document sealed by the Probate Registry which confirms that the person named on it (the Executor or Administrator) is entitled to deal with the Estate. This official document enables that person to collect all the assets, pay debts due from the Estate and distribute any balance due to Beneficiaries.

Prior to applying for a Grant, the Executor or Administrator is required to collect details of what assets the Deceased held, both in the UK and worldwide. This may entail checking post, going through the Deceased’s documentation, obtaining valuations of any properties owned by the Deceased and by writing to the relevant financial institutions. The Executor or Administrator can instruct a Solicitor to carry out this process.

Details and valuations of the assets as at the date of death, together with any liabilities, are then to be provided to HM Revenue & Customs to establish if any Inheritance Tax is payable. It is essential that this information about the Deceased’s estate is accurate as if it results in tax being underpaid the Executor or Administrator may face penalties.

The Executor or Administrator will then need to swear an Oath. The sworn Oath together with the relevant court fee, original Will (if a Will was left) and proof of payment of any Inheritance Tax due is then sent to the Probate Registry.

There is no official deadline by which to apply for a Grant, however, there is the potential for the Executor or Administrator to suffer fines or interest payments for non-payment of any Inheritance Tax due within 6 months of the date of death.

Provided that the Probate Registry approves this application, they will issue the relevant Grant.

At Ramsdens we appreciate that this is an upsetting and often confusing process for any Executors or Administrators who have lost loved ones. We are therefore here to assist in making this process as simple and stress free as possible and can deal with the administration of the Estate from start to finish.

If you have suffered a recent bereavement and would like assistance in applying for Probate and administering the Estate, then please contact our experienced Private Client team today. Call us on 0800 988 3650, email willsandprobate@ramsdens.co.uk or text LAW to 67777.