First steps when applying for probate

Initial Actions
The first step in an application for probate is to contact your local Probate Registry for information and advice. They will have a Personal Application Department with staff that will help with the required forms and procedures to assist with the ‘Grant of Probate’, or letters of administration. After that you will have to carry out any remaining administration yourself.
The Capital Taxes Office, which is a branch of HM Revenue and Customs, can help in cases where Inheritance Tax is payable. When dealing with tax it is imperative that you do not make any mistakes, or omissions, as these could have financial consequences that will fall on your shoulders.
If you are undertaking the probate application process yourself you must have a clear understanding of what you are doing and all of your obligations. If you are unsure then why not call our probate free helpline on 0800 612 6105?

Next Steps
If you are undertaking the application process yourself then the second step is to obtain copies of the death certificate. It is a legal requirement that all deaths are registered. At this point the person registering the death, known as the informant, will receive a death certificate. The informant is usually a relative of the deceased who:
·         was present at the death
·         was present during the last illness
·         who lives in close proximity to where the death occurred
·         or a person (not a relative) who was present at the time of death
An informant can be an administrator, or executor. If you are administrator or executor, but not the informant, then you are required to ask the informant to obtain three copies of the death certificate when registering the death. Each copy of the certificate will cost £3.50. This should be done at the point of registration as obtaining copies at a later date is more complicated and expensive.
Establish Authority
The next step in applying for probate is to establish from the will that you have the authority to act as executor, either by yourself, or in conjunction with someone else. If you are a joint executor you must decide what each person involved is going to do. This must be agreed and signed by both executors. Even when the responsibilities have been divided both executors are required to sign all of the probate documents and claim forms.
After the application is complete and the roles have been established you will need to start administering the estate. If the deceased has left a deed box this is a good place to start. Here you should find important documents relating to insurance, savings and property. You should set up your own file for of all of the information and communication involved in the process.

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