Probate - FAQ's

Here are some of the most frequently asked questions regarding Probate. Losing someone close is a difficult time and the last thing someone needs is to feel that they have to deal with what seems to be a minefield namely something called Probate.

What is Probate, how does Probate work and what is the purpose of Probate?

Probate (also known as a Grant) is a legal document issued by the Court and is simply piece of mind for a deceased person’s asset holders that they can deal with the person or people named on the Grant with confidence e.g. the people named on the Grant have had their authority to deal with the deceased’s assets either confirmed by (or granted by) the Court. In this respect it gives the Land Registry and/or other asset holders confidence that they can accept instructions from the persons named on the Probate to transfer and/or sell the deceased’s assets.

Do I have to do Probate where someone has died? Is Probate required where there is a Will and so do you need probate if there is a Will and what type of assets are subject to Probate?

The short answer is it depends upon what is in a deceased person’s estate and the value of it. Assets that are in joint names usually pass automatically to the surviving joint owner and therefore outside of the four corners of the Will or intestacy and so Probate is not required to deal with these although there are exceptions. So to answer the questions:
1. Where land is held in the sole name of a person who has died then Probate will be required as the Land Registry will require sight of this to satisfy themselves that they can accept the instructions to transfer Land to a beneficiary or new Purchasers from the people named on the Grant e.g. they have the authority to provide such instructions to the Land Registry to transfer Land;
2. Where there are stocks and shares held then probate is almost certainly required unless the registrars who hold the shares take the view that the shares are of such small value that they will require their small estate’s indemnity procedure in lieu of the Probate. Stocks and shares of a large value will require Probate;
3. Where there are banks and building societies involved then probate may or may not be required as this will depend upon the rules of each bank or building society. Generally, if you do not require Probate for anything else and the value in the accounts fall under their capital limits for Probate (each bank/building society applying different limits) then probate will not be required;
4. Where there are personal items such as cars, motor bikes and items around the house then Probate will not be required. The Probate process can be time consuming and there are a number of avoidable issues that can arise in the process especially where tax is due, so I always recommend taking
specialise legal advice.

Hopefully this Blog will help with some of your questions but please remember that Bennett Oakley is here to support you so you do not need to go it alone. Please give Bennett Oakley a call should you require any help or assistance on 01444 235232.