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What is Probate?

When a person dies, whether or not they have a will, the people responsible for their estate may need to apply to the courts for Probate. Probate is the process by which a will is "proved" and accepted as valid. In the absence of a will it is the permission to settle the estate according to the laws of intestacy.

The application for probate is made to a section of the court known as the Probate Registry. Once granted, a document known as the grant of probate is issued and confirms that the applicants are authorised to deal with the deceased’s affairs. In the absence of a valid will, Letters of Administration will be issued.

The people who apply for the Grant of Probate and carry out the administration of the estate are known as the Executors. Executors must carry out a number of tasks including notifying the authorities and distributing the estate to the beneficiaries.

Administering the estate

Estate administration is the process of handling a person’s legal and tax affairs after they pass away. It involves a lot of complicated personal, legal, and financial work and is not only time consuming but comes with the risk of financial loss should something go wrong.

This is why many people choose to appoint a professional to act as executor or personal representative.

Here is a break down of what the probate process usually entails:

    • Applying for and acquiring the Grant of Representation from the court.
    • The identification and valuation of all your assets (such as property, investments and possessions) and all liabilities (such as debts, loans, utility bills etc). Their values must be calculated in order to determine the total value of your Estate.
    • Notifying any government departments such as HMRC, DVLA, Passport Office as well as banks, utilities companies.
    • Closing all bank accounts and any other relevant accounts.
    • Ensure all assets, including properties, are protected and kept secure.
    • Taking care of any online accounts, protecting them against fraud and theft.
    • All those due to inherit from your estate must must have their entitlement to the Estate verified under the terms of your Will (or Intestacy laws if there is no Will).
    • Inheritance Tax must be calculated and paid to HMRC where applicable.
    • An Inheritance Tax return (required whether or not there is tax due) must be submitted to HMRC and an application to the Probate Registry for the Grant of Representation must be made to confirm legal authority to administer the Estate.
    • The final Estate administration expenses must be paid. Any further Inheritance Tax, Income Tax or Capital Gains Tax due to or from the Estate must be declared to HMRC.
    • Accounts documenting all payments into and out of the Estate must be prepared showing the balance left for distribution to the beneficiaries.
    • Estate accounts to the must be sent to the Executor of the Will for approval.
    • As long as there are no challenges to the Estate or contentious factors preventing
    • distribution, the transfer of any assets and distribution of the balance of Estate funds can take place.

    The probate process and the administration of a will can be a complicated drawn out process. The benefits of appointing us to execute your will ensure peace of mind for all involved. When you appoint us to administer your estate, we offer you:

    • Expertise – We deal with estate administration on a daily basis. The complexities that may arise such as finalising inheritance tax, managing trusts and investments and dealing with properties will be taken care of professionally and you are not at risk of losing out financially by un for seen circumstances.
    • Impartiality – By using a professional legal service you can be sure that all matters will be dealt with impartially and in accordance with the law and your wishes. Any tensions within families will not affect the probate and estate administration process whatsoever.
    • Peace of mind – A prepaid service will always be in place whereas a nominated family member or friend could emigrate or pass away themselves. Once your plan is in place, there will always be someone to deal with matters when the time comes.

    Many people have no experience or knowledge of the probate and administration process and having to learn in a time of emotional distress adds to the emotional upheaval. By appointing us as executors, your loved ones will be free to deal with the changes in their lives without the added worry of a complicated legal process to deal with.

What is prepaid probate?

Probate, can be a complicated and expensive process. Many estates are distributed by banks or solicitors who charge a percentage of the value of the estate, regardless of how much work is required. This can result in substantial probate fees if the estate is large, even if the process is reasonably straightforward.

The alternative way of planning for this process is through a prepaid probate plan.

Our prepaid probate plans involve paying a fixed amount in advance to cover probate and the administration of your estate. This amount is generally based on the complexity of the estate and the work that is likely to be involved in administering the assets rather than a generalisation based on size.

The main benefit of a prepaid probate plan is that it gives you clarification regarding the costs and peace of mind concerning the process of administering your estate. You pay one fee which is fixed at today’s prices. It also puts in place fixed arrangements for the management of the process, including valuing your assets, settling any bills and distributing your estate to your beneficiaries.

Finally, prepaid probate takes away the stress of arranging probate from your relatives at what is already, a distressing and emotional time for them.

The main Benefits of a Prepaid Probate Plan:

  • The costs are fixed at the outset, saving you money in the long run.
  • Your payment is securely deposited and taken care of by our corporate trustees until the time comes for probate to be completed.
  • You can be sure that all arrangements are securely in place well in advance.
  • You are saving your loved ones from a lengthy and stressful procedure
  • It is easy to arrange.
  • You can save on Inheritance Tax – Probate costs are not deductible from inheritance tax. Without a probate plan, you pay inheritance tax then probate costs on top of that. By paying for a probate plan during your lifetime, you can save on inheritance tax if it is above the nil band threshold.

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