Losing a loved one can be absolutely devastating, and during such times, understanding the legal aspects of estate management can add another layer of complexity.
Whether you are navigating the aftermath of a recent loss or proactively organising your affairs, one common question arises: Is probate required if there is a will?
The answer to that is not necessarily clear-cut.
In this brief blog, we will examine the estate administration processes and help answer that very query.
Understanding the Grant of Probate
A Grant of Probate is a Court document issued when a Will is “proved” (when the Court has been provided with the original Will and other documents that make up the Probate application).
Legal authority to administer the estate is granted to the Executor by the Will.
However, for certain assets, a Grant of Probate will be required to dispose of them.
Decoding Asset Types and Probate Requirements
The probate requirement hinges on how the assets are owned.
Assets held jointly, such as joint bank accounts or properties owned as joint tenants, usually pass automatically to the surviving co-owner.
In these cases, a simple notification of the deceased's passing suffices.
However, for assets held solely or for shares in properties owned as Tenants in Common, the necessity for a Grant of Probate varies based on the asset's value:
- Shares: When it comes to shares, specific rules apply. If the total estate value, encompassing all assets, remains under £10,000, some registrars permit share sales or transfers without a Grant of Probate. If the estate value exceeds this limit, obtaining a Grant of Probate becomes necessary.
- Bank Accounts: Different financial institutions have distinct rules. Some banks may release assets up to £170,000 without requiring a Grant of Probate, while others set the threshold at £20,000. For amounts surpassing these thresholds, a Grant of Probate is mandatory.
- Property Owned as Tenants in Common: Regardless of the property's value, selling or transferring a share of a property owned as Tenants in Common mandates obtaining a Grant of Probate.
Clarity in Uncertainty
Navigating these intricacies might leave you uncertain about whether a Grant of Probate is essential.
The only way to know for certain is to ask each of the institutions that the deceased held assets with.
Each will have their own rules and procedures to encash the asset and will normally tell you whether they require sight of a Grant of Probate in their initial communication with you.
The Necessity Of Probate: Guidance and Support
If you find yourself still uncertain or would appreciate expert guidance tailored to your unique circumstances, our dedicated Private Client Team is here to help.
We offer complimentary initial consultations to discuss probate and estate administration and guide you through the necessary processes.
Contact us today to see how we can help you gain a clear understanding of the steps ahead.