When a person dies there needs to be someone else to take charge of their estate. This could be assets that are held in a bank or perhaps assets that are held within a pension or a life insurance company, which will then be paid out.
In order for the person to take charge of these things there will be a need to apply for a Grant of Representation, which will prove that you have the authority to administer the estate that has been held by the deceased.
What you need to apply for will really depend on whether the deceased left a will. If they did then you as the named executor will need to apply for a grant of probate and if not, then the next of kin for the person will need to apply for grant letters of administration. However, both are known and often referred to as being an application made for probate.
Do you always need probate?
In the most part an estate won’t need to go through the process of applying for probate. If the property or money is jointly owned, then it will go to the spouse or the partner and probate will not be required. However, it is always best to speak to the HMRC in order to ascertain what is going to be applicable to your own situation.
How long does probate take?
An uncomplicated probate will take around four to eight weeks to process and then approve a grant of probate. However, if there are any complications then this can delay the process for a varying length of time.
Once the grant of probate has been received then the amount of time that it will take to receive the funds and ensure that everything is resolved can take much longer.
Can you do it yourself?
Like many things, you can decide to take a more DIY approach to probate and applying for it. There is a fee that needs to be paid in order to apply for probate, but, if you do it alone you won’t have to worry about paying out for any other charges.
That said, at a time when you are trying to manage other things as well as come to terms with your own grief, you may find that the application for probate process is just too much to bear. Not only this, but applying for anything to do with wills, probate and financial requirements during an emotional time can cause rifts, arguments and bad feeling amongst family members.
When you think of it this way, it makes sense to ask for a professional to take charge of the probate applications and resolving aspects of a will, even if it is just to ensure that you have one less thing on your list to worry about.
As you can see, it is vitally important to make sure that you understand at least the basics of applying for a probate and wills. Being aware of the process, how long it will take and what you need to do is a great way to ensure that you get through as quickly as you can, with minimal stress too.