Probate Solicitors Limited - Probate & Estate Administration

Probate Explained

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What is probate?

When someone dies all of their assets and debts (held in their sole name) have to be valued.  The value of the assets, less the debts, forms what is termed their "estate". The estate must then distributed according to the wishes of the deceased or if no will was left the estate is distributed in accordance with the intestacy laws.  In addition there may be tax to pay on the value of the estate.

Applying for probate is the way in which the people responsible for the estate are granted the authority to deal with the assets. Dealing with an estate can be complex particularly when the deceased didn’t leave a will.  A recent consumer survey, carried out for a large insurance company, showed that 49% of people questioned used a solicitor to administer the estate of a loved one.

If the deceased leaves a will:

  • the executor(s) named in the will apply for a "grant of probate"
  • the grant is a legal document which confirms that the executor has the authority to deal with the deceased person's assets


If the deceased didn't leave a will:

  • a close relative of the deceased can apply for a "grant of letters of administration"
  • if the grant is given, they are known as "administrators" of the estate
  • the grant of letters of administration is a legal document which confirms that the administrator(s) have authority to deal with the deceased person's assets

Do I have to apply for a "grant"?

A grant may not be required in some situations where:

  • the person who died left less than £5,000 (or in some limited cases more depending where saved)
  • they owned everything jointly with someone else and everything passes automatically to the surviving joint owner


A grant will usually be required when the deceased left one or more of the following:

  • stocks or shares
  • certain insurance policies
  • property or land held in their own name or as "tenants in common"
  • In most cases, the bank or relevant institution will need to see the grant before transferring control of the assets. However, if the estate is small some organisations may release money to you at their discretion.

If you would like to help on probate please contact us on 01564 758055

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