General Advice on Applying for Probate

The first step in establishing who is responsible for applying for probate is to find the will. This is not always straightforward and in some cases, even when the will has been located, there may be some significant problems.
 
A considerable number of wills, particularly those that have been created with a DIY solution, have key information missing. They may contain instructions about property and possessions as well as funeral wishes, but not include the name of an executor. In some cases the will might contain the name of an executor who is unable to perform that duty and might not contain the name of a substitute executor. If this is the case then this responsibility usually falls to the next-of-kin who must apply for a grant of Letters of Administration.
 
If a good will has been made and located that names an executor who is able to perform this duty the next stage in the process is applying for a Grant of Probate. This must be done by submitting the correct application forms to the Probate Registry. Two forms are required at this stage; a Probate Application Form – PA1 and an Inheritance Tax Form.
 
There are 2 separate inheritance tax forms that may need to be completed. If the estate is greater in value than£325,000 then the executor must submit the IHT400 and IHT421 forms to the Probate Registry for inheritance tax. If the value of the estate is less than this amount then it is deemed to be exempt, but the executor is required to submit the IHT205 with the probate application.
 
Anyone can apply for a Grant of Probate, but in the majority of cases this is done via a solicitor. If you are going to employ a solicitor to perform this function it is important that you get a clear outline of costs. Most solicitors will charge an hourly rate and if there are any problems with paperwork, or delays in the process, it will increase the costs involved.
 
It is not necessary to instruct a solicitor to perform this function and increasing numbers of people are turning to professional probate practitioners who will perform the whole process of applying and administering the estate for one fixed cost.
If you have any questions about, why not call the free probate helpline on 0800 612 6105

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