What is Probate?

by Alex Feldman

March 26, 2019

Probate requires an authorized relative or friend to organize the estate of a loved one who has passed away. It typically requires them to distribute their assets and clear their debts, which must be in accordance with a will.

If you are new to the process and want to find out exactly how it works, read the following information regarding probate and what you need to do.

A Grant of Probate

When a person writes a will, they may have appointed one or more executors, who will be responsible for applying for a grant of probate. If, however, a loved one failed to write a will, their next of kin must apply for a grant of letters of administration. Either documentation will often be referred to as probate when applying to the court for a grant.

The probate process will ultimately allow a person to:

  • Gain access to a loved one’s assets (bank accounts, savings, etc.)
  • Repay any outstanding debts
  • Divide the remainder of the estate in line with a testator’s will

It is, however, important to note that probate isn’t always necessary. For example, if a spouse or civil partner jointly own a property or have a shared bank account with the deceased, both will automatically pass to them once their partner passes away.

If you need to apply for a grant of probate, you will need to:

  • Fill in a probate application form (PA1P)
  • Complete the inheritance tax form
  • Submit an application to the local probate registry
  • Swear an oath at the probate office

After swearing an oath, it is possible you could receive a grant of probate within ten working days. If your application is rejected, the probate service will inform you why.

The Length of the Probate Process

After you have applied, it typically takes between four to eight weeks to receive a grant of probate. However, the completion process will be determined by the complexity of the testator’s estate, as property, shares, and investments might need to be sold.

It is also possible for loved ones to contest a will before probate, which can prevent executors from receiving a grant of probate. However, once probate has been granted, an executor is free to divide a testator’s assets based on the will’s instructions. Find out more at www.the-inheritance-experts.co.uk.

What Happens When Probate is Contested

Probate can often be contested in various ways. For example, it is possible for a blood relative or beneficiary to request a caveat to delay or prevent the granting of probate, as they might question the legitimacy of a will. The person requesting a caveat will also need to state their reasons for it within eight days of an application, or it will be removed. If the caveat isn’t removed, the issue might need to be resolved in court.

While probate can be complicated, it is essential for gaining access to your loved one’s estate and could help you to move forward following this difficult period in your life.