17 situations when it’s best to use a professional to apply for probate

A small minority of families apply for probate themselves. This course of action can only realistically be considered if you have both the time and the management skills required. Although it can give you the kind of satisfaction that is to be gained from taking responsibility for completing the financial affairs of the deceased, this decision should not be taken lightly. The application process can become very complex and unless it is a simple estate it can take between 6 and 9 months to complete.
Individuals applying for probate will do so either because they have had some experience in this field, or they are dealing with a very straightforward estate. Generally this indicates that the deceased did not own property of any kind and their personal wealth was below a level that would be liable for Inheritance Tax.
There are a host of reasons which can cause the application to become problematic. These include:
1.       If there is a problem locating the will
2.       There are concerns about the validity of the will
3.       There is a chance that the will might be contested
4.       The locations of the beneficiaries are not known
5.       The terms of the will are unclear
6.       If the estate is subject to Inheritance Tax
7.       For an estate that is greater in value than £250,000
8.       When there is no will and the deceased was married with children
9.       When there is no will, the deceased was married and the total value of the estate is over the Inheritance Tax threshold of £325,000.
10.   If the estate might be liable to Inheritance Tax and the spouse, or civil partner, of the deceased has died previously with none or some of the inheritance allowance used at that time.
11.   When there is no will and the total value of the estate is greater than £450,000 and the deceased left behind a husband, wife, or civil partner with no children
12.   Regardless of whether there is a will or not, when part of the estate is bequeathed to children below the age of 18
13.   When part of the estate is money, or property, in a trust
14.   When the deceased was a partner in, or owner of, a business
15.   When the deceased owned property, or land, that has an unregistered title
16.   When the deceased owned property, or land, abroad
17.   If the estate has been declared insolvent
There are many companies that offer probate services. However, it is wise to be sceptical as, for some, the motivation is to gain as much of the estate as is possible. For example banks and building societies will take a whopping 5% of the estate for this service.
IWC are independent probate practitioners and offer a low cost fixed fee to handle probate on your behalf. If you are unsure about a probate application call us on 0800 612 6105 for free help and advice.

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