Probate is the word usually used to describe the process for administering the estate of a deceased person.
The probate process deals with the legal and financial aspects of the deceased in order to resolve all claims and distribute the deceased person’s property in accordance with their final wishes.
Most probate cases follow the same steps:
- Check if the deceased had a will
- Apply to the probate registry for a ‘grant of probate’
- Identifying all of the deceased’s assets and liabilities and paying any Inheritance Tax due to HMRC.
- Collect the estate’s assets, e.g. money from the sale of the person’s property.
- Pay any debts, e.g. unpaid loans or utility bills.
- Distribute the estate
The time it takes for the probate process to be completed can vary substantially and depends on a number of factors. In our experience, a simple probate case can usually be resolved in around six months whilst more complex cases can take twelve months or even longer.
This depends somewhat on the financial affairs of the deceased and ensuring that any potential creditors have due time to put in their claim against the estate. We can help ensure that your affairs are handled in as expedient a way as possible and also a tax efficient manner.
It is important to note that arguments between family members, beneficiaries or personal representatives can also cause delays. Any disagreements must be sorted out before the affairs of the person who died can be settled. Probate is the term used for this process in England and Wales. In Northern Ireland the probate process is known as ‘grant of probate’ and in Scotland as ‘confirmation’.