application for probate

Dealing with Scottish Probate


 After a person dies, as an executor you will be expected to obtain a Grant of Confirmation, which will be required by banks, insurance companies and creditors in order to freeze bank accounts and any balance on debts.  It is your job as executor to ensure that all payments are made, debts settled and taxes paid before beginning to distribute any of the assets.

Should the deceased only have left a small estate – usually under £30,000 including property and valuables, a Grant of Confirmation may not be required.

Inheritance Tax laws also apply in Scotland, where the Sheriff Court will require a valuation of all assets, in order to calculate how much Inheritance Tax should be paid.

Only after all tax has been paid and outstanding debts settled, can the remainder of the estate begin to be distributed according to the contents of the will.

If you’re unsure of how the Scottish probate process works and you’d like more information, contact a professional probate practitioner with experience in this area.  A Grant of Probate issued in the Uk is very different to a Grant of Confirmation

Is an Executor Required to Make an Application For Probate?

Technically speaking the answer is yes. As part of the process of writing a will there should be a person, or company, nominated to act as executor and it is the responsibility of this individual to make an Application for Probate.
 
In some cases the person named as executor is not able to make the probate application. They may have passed away, or simply not have the ability to fulfil this process. In these cases another person may step and make an application for Letters of Administration, which will give them the same legal rights as those given with Grant of Probate.
 
It is common practice for Banks and Lawyers that have provided a will-writing service to have themselves named as executors in these wills. These companies may offer this service free of charge as they can recoup the costs involved when they are administering the estate. Despite the fact that they may have written the will, and been named as executors, there is no obligation to use them. You can ask an executor to resign their position at any time.
 
If you feel as though the person named as an executor is not the right person for this job you can contact them directly and ask them to resign their position. You might find that the bank or solicitor involved is resistant as they will have some investment in the process. You can ask for them to give you an outline of the costs involved up-front and then compare this against a fixed-fee low cost alternative. If you ask them to price match with the cheaper alternative they will be less likely to compete for the business.
 
If you would like to find out more about the legal obligations of an executor you can call free on 0800 612 6105, lines are open until 10pm, 7 days a week.

Making an Application for Probate – The Basics

When a person dies it is a legal requirement that their estate has to be administered. This means all their assets must be collected together, and all of their debts must be paid. Once this has been done what is left over may be distributed to those people who are entitled to it. The process of the administration of an estate is called Probate.
The administration of an estate is carried out by 'Executors' who may also be known as 'Personal Representatives'. If the deceased left a will, it normally contains the names one or more executors. In some cases they might be friends or family. In other cases this task may be entrusted to a professional, such a solicitor, or a Probate Practitioner. It is the first task of the executor to apply for Probate.
 
Probate is the authority, given by the court, to a person or persons to administer an estate. The document which is issued by the Probate Service allowing this is called a Grant of Representation, or Grant of Probate. When there is more than one executor it is essential that all delegated parties work well together to decide what needs to be done, as disagreements can lead to delays which may be expensive.
 
There are several steps in the Application for Probate. These may differ depending on the size and nature of the estate.
 
The first step is one of preparation. This involves the registration of death and obtaining all the relevant documents. Then the executor must ascertain the values of any assets and check for liabilities. At this stage all of the beneficiaries must be contacted and any initial enquiries to HM Revenue & Customs (HMRC) should be made.
 
The next step is the preparation and submission of Inheritance Tax forms and the application form for the Grant of Probate. Once the Grant of Probate has been received it must be registered with all of the asset holders.
 
Once these steps have been complete the executor may begin with the collection of assets and complete any outstanding income tax affairs such as dealing with Inheritance Tax. They may also begin with the payment of smaller legacies.
 
For further information with regard to the an Application for Probate call the free advice line 0800 612 6105

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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