If you’re wondering “how does probate work?” you’ve probably just lost a loved one. This is a very difficult time in any person’s life. And dealing with legal issues is the last thing anyone wants to do. Nevertheless, it’s often unavoidable.
But there’s nothing to fear from probate. As long as you have the facts, you can navigate the process without too much stress and worry.
What is probate?
Probate is a type of court order that allows someone to deal with the financial affairs of the deceased. You need to have a Grant of Probate if you want to deal with significant financial assets — even if you’re the named Executor or the next of kin.
If you’re the spouse of the deceased, you may not need probate to transfer relatively modest assets to beneficiaries. Contact each institution to find out their rules and guidelines.
If the deceased left a Will, you get a Grant of Probate. If there isn’t a Will, you get Letters of Administration. Either way, these important permissions give you the legal right to access bank accounts and transfer assets. This might be necessary to calculate the estate value and pay off any debts.
What happens during the probate process?
Tackling the probate process for the first time can be intimidating. But if you take one step at a time, it’s usually straightforward. Yes, it involves a lot of administration, but financial institutions will help you as much as they can.
Determine the final value of the estate
You have to make an accurate list of all the deceased’s assets. These include property, cash, possessions, pensions, savings, and anything else of value. Add all of these assets together to calculate the final value of the deceased’s estate.
Submit the estate value to HMRC
Whether the estate exceeds the inheritance tax threshold or not, you have to submit the final value of the deceased’s estate to HMRC. You will need to provide identification details to HMRC before you can do this on behalf of the estate. If you’re a surviving spouse, this is easy. If you’re an Executor or a close relative, you’ll need a Grant of Representation from the Probate Registry.
Settle the estate
Once you have a Grant of Representation, you can start using the assets in the estate to pay off debts. The first debt to satisfy is inheritance tax — if applicable. You should then pay off any existing credit cards, loans and other liabilities. You may need to sell off assets to satisfy these debts, even if that means selling a home.
Distribute the assets
Once all liabilities have been settled, the Executor or Administrator can distribute the remaining assets according to the Will. If there isn’t a Will, the Probate Registry will let you know what to do next.
Speed up the process
If there’s a property in the deceased’s estate and you inherit it, you might need to sell it fast to pay off debts. Or you simply might want to move on from your loss as quickly as possible. Flying Homes specialise in buying houses quickly. There’s no negotiation, marketing, or drawn-out legal process. In some instances, we’re able to complete a house purchase within a month of making the initial offer.