Steps you should take when someone dies and leaves a will
When someone dies leaving a will, the executor of the will becomes responsible for administering the assets of the deceased. The deceased individual, through his will, appoints one or more individuals to serve as executor.
If you have been appointed as executor, you need to take two important steps
- Obtain the grant of probate
- Distribute the assets according to the wishes of the deceased
Issued by the probate registry, the grant of probate is a document that gives legal authority to an executor to administer the assets of the deceased person.
A grant of probate is not needed if
- the estate is jointly held by a spouse or civil partner who has survived the deceased
- the estate does not include land, shares, or property
- the money in the bank is within the limits prescribed by the particular bank.
Under these cases, all you need to do is inform the bank about the death and submit a copy of the death certificate as proof.
In other cases, applying for a grant of probate is a must. You can apply for probate yourself or you could take help from a probate specialist.
The fee of a probate specialist is quite high. So, use a probate specialist only if you have serious concerns about the validity of the will or if you are not sure about certain legal matters.
By applying for probate on your own, you can save a lot of money. And if you need advice on a few details of the probate, you could consult a solicitor who would charge you a reasonable fee.
To obtain the grant of probate, you need to do the following:
- Calculate the value of the deceased individual’s assets
Assets can include property, shares, jewellery, and other valuables. While assessing the deceased person’s assets, you must also find out if the individual had given gifts anytime in the seven years before his death. You must include their value in the value of the estate.
Then, you need to check if there are taxes or debts that are due to be cleared. Once the dues are cleared, check the final value of the estate. You will be asked to report the estate value when you apply for probate.
Make sure to clear the Inheritance Tax within six months of death to avoid paying interest.
- Apply for the grant of probate
If the value of the estate is above £5000, the grant of probate will cost £215. If the value is less than £5000, the grant of probate is free.
An executor can apply for a grant of probate online. You can use the online Probate Service only if you have the original will and the original or interim death certificate. You must also have reported the estate’s value (Use the gov.uk website to do so)
To obtain the grant of probate, you need to have the following documents
- The Will
- Birth & Death Certificates of the deceased
- Marriage Certificate or Civil Partner Certificate
Apart from the above documents, you must also submit the codicil if there is any. A codicil is a legal document used by the deceased to make changes or additions to the will.
If you are not applying online, then copies of the above documents must be attached to the probate form and submitted to the probate registry.
After you have cleared off any debts or taxes and you have obtained the grant of probate, you can begin administering the assets of the deceased, if you need an expert’s guidance to assist you in these matters, please do not hesitate to contact Aristone Solicitors.