When someone has died, you will need a “grant of probate” in order to deal with their assets unless they are all in joint names or are low in value. A grant of probate is, essentially, a certificate from the Probate Registry to say that the person concerned has died, that the Will which has been produced is the true and valid last Will of the deceased, and that the person(s) named in the grant has authority to deal with the assets of the deceased.
If the person who died did not leave a Will then you have to apply for a “grant of letters of administration” instead. Again these confirm that the person has died and that the person(s) named in the grant has the authority to deal with their assets. The process for obtaining either of these is very similar and we generally refer to them both as “probate”.
In order to obtain the grant you need, you have to list the assets of the deceased and their values as at the date of death. You also have to identify any debts they may have had. Then you need to file a tax return which gives that information and apply for the grant. The process of obtaining the grant varies slightly depending on the size of the estate but if Inheritance Tax is payable then it has to be paid at this stage.
Once you have the grant of probate you can deal with the assets of the deceased. Often this means selling them but if a beneficiary wants a particular asset it may be possible to transfer it to them. When you have collected in the assets, you have to pay any debts which the deceased left and then you can distribute the estate in accordance with the Will or, if there was no Will, the intestacy rules.
This process can seem overwhelming at the outset. Myerson Solicitors can deal with the estate for you, doing as much or as little as you want. Sometimes we go to the house of the deceased and gather all the information ourselves. Usually, the family of the deceased are able to give us the details of their assets and liabilities.
If you would like to do this, please call us on 0161 941 4000 and we will send you our questionnaire for this purpose.
Then we can obtain values for the assets as at the date of death and once we have all the information we can complete the tax return and the application for probate/letters of administration. Again you can be as involved as you want in this process. Once we have obtained the grant, we can administer the estate, dealing with all the issues which arise and producing accounts for you at the end so that you can see that everything tallies up. Alternatively, you may prefer to deal with this part of the administration yourself.
At Myerson, our Wills, Trusts and Probate team are specialists in dealing with estates of all sizes and complexity; with many different issues, including lifetime gifts, trusts, family rifts, foreign property.