Probate: Managing a loved one’s financial affairs after their death
Contributed by: Berley

Worried couple dealing with probate paperwork

In this post, we look at the Probate process in England and Wales, from applying for a grant of representation to the decisions you need to make once the document is granted.

Applying for a grant of representation

Probate is the legal process you go through when someone has passed away and you are the executor of their estate. An executor is named in the Will of the person who has died or in the absence of a Will, the next of kin usually handles the probate to distribute the person’s “estate” – an umbrella term for their property, money and possessions.

The person sorting out the estate is required to obtain a “grant of representation” before distributing the assets. This is also known as “grant of Probate,” “letters of administration” or “letters of administration with a Will.” All these terms represent an official document that gives you the right to deal with the affairs of your deceased loved one, including gaining access to their bank accounts.

The probate application process consists of five stages:

  • Application form
  • Valuing the estate
  • Paying inheritance tax
  • Submitting application to local Probate Registry
  • Swearing an oath

Once you get the grant, any institution that holds the deceased’s assets will release them to you. You’ll first need to pay off any outstanding debts, before proceeding on to distributing the estate as set forward in the Will or the law. As your final step, you’ll need to prepare estate accounts signed by all beneficiaries.

When a grant of representation is not needed

There are scenarios when you don’t need to apply for a grant of representation. For example, if the estate does not include land, property or shares or if the estate was held in a joint account with a civil partner/spouse who is to inherit it. In most cases, however, you will need a grant of representation, and tackling the process can be a complex procedure. It’s also a good idea to discuss inheritance tax with a Probate professional, who can make sure you take advantage of all the exemptions you can claim.

Berley’s probate services

That’s where Berley can help. Berley Chartered Accountants are licensed to carry out non-contentious Probate in England and Wales, saving you time and money. Lawyers will, in any case, have to get in contact with an accountant for financial information on the deceased at some point. Using Berley’s probate services means you can cut out the middleman.

We charge on a time basis and we can give you an initial quote for the work you would like us to complete. We believe in optimum transparency, which means that there’ll be no hidden charges for you once our work is done.

Talk to us about our probate services today on 020 7788 8261.