What is Probate?

Napthens - December 2nd 2016

Charlotte Cooper, Wills & Estate Planning Solicitor, explains probate and the benefits of making a Will to avoid unnecessary complications in the event of your death.

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What is Probate?

“Probate is the generic legal term describing the process of administering someone’s estate after they have died.  If a person dies and has left a Will, the Will will specify who is responsible for dealing with the administration and they are called an Executor.  An Executor may need a legal certificate from the Probate Registry stating their authorisation and this is called a Grant of Probate.”

What happens if I die without making a Will?

“If somebody dies and they have not made a Will the distribution of the Estate is laid down by the laws of intestacy.  Usually it is the next of kin who is responsible for dealing with the Estate and they are called an Administrator.  If they need a legal certificate from the Probate Registry, this certificate is called Letters of Administration.  Whether you will need a Grant of Probate or Letters of Administration is very much dependent upon the value of the assets held by the deceased.  You will need to make enquiries with the banks to find out what their threshold is before they require a Grant of Probate.  If the deceased owned property in their sole name you almost certainly need a Grant of Probate or Letters of Administration.  The only exception to this is if property is held jointly but it is still worthwhile your solicitor scrutinising the Deeds to check whether there are any provisions within the Deeds to prevent the property passing automatically.”