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q&a

Probate

QWhat does Probate mean?
 

AWhen a person dies it is normally necessary to obtain a Grant of Probate to allow you to deal with their affairs. For example, to sell any property that they owned and close down any bank accounts. When the person who has died has left a Will the executors named in the Will are entitled to apply for probate. If the person who has died did not leave a Will, then certain close relatives are entitled to apply for a Grant of Letters of Administration. The order of people who are entitled to apply is set down by law. For example, if the person who died left a spouse then their spouse if the first person entitled to apply for a Grant of Letters of Administration. The application involves submitting details of the estate to the Probate Registry. This can sometimes be a complicated procedure and it is usual to instruct a solicitor.

QHow Much will a Grant of Probate or Grant of Letters of Administration Cost?
 

AThe cost of obtaining a Grant of Probate or a Grant of Letters of Administration varies from estate to estate. The cost generally depends on the number of assets within the estate. We do not charge either a fixed fee for obtaining probate or a percentage of the size of the estate which is the way that some banks and other service providers may charge. We will only charge you for the work that we need to carry out and are able to provide a detailed estimate at the outset.

QHow Long Will The Whole Process Take?
 

AAgain, this depends on how many assets are in the estate and the type of those assets. If the estate contains a property that needs to be sold it can take several months for everything to be finalised. If however, the estate consists of a couple of bank accounts and a life policy matters can be resolved fairly quickly and all monies paid out within approximately two to three months after the person has died. More complicated estates where Inheritance Tax is payable and there are numerous accounts can take up to twelve months to finalise.

QMy Father Has Recently Died And Did not Leave A Will What Will Happen To His Estate
 

AWhen a person dies without leaving a Will they are said to have died intestate and their estate is divided up in accordance with the intestacy rules.A lot of people assume that their spouse will automatically inherit their estate even if they do not make a Will to this effect. This is not entirely true and does depend on the size of your estate. The intestacy rules are complicated and we have therefore prepared a chart to help explain how they operate in practice. Our advice is that although the intestacy rules are in place they do not cover all types of family circumstances. In particular, the intestacy rules do not recognise couples who are not married or not in a civil partnership. Therefore if you die without a valid Will leaving a partner surviving, your partner will not inherit anything from your estate.