What is Probate?
If a person passes away owning assets held in a bank or other financial institution or if a company (such as a Pension Provider or Life Insurance company) is likely to pay the estate of a deceased person then they may ask you to apply for either a
Grant of Probate
or Letter of Administration
. This ensures they are paying the rightful people the money, this procedure is generally known as applying for probate.
What is the limit for probate?
Different organisations have their own limits, for example if the deceased's money is held in the Post Office they will ask for Probate if they hold in excess of £10,000. Whereas other institutions such as Santander will allow you to sign an indemnity which will allow them to release up to £25,000. Organisations generally have a right to ask for Probate where there are sums in excess of £5,000.
Probate a Will
If you make a Will
it will include an appointment of Executors. One of the Executors duties
is to apply to the Probate Division of the High Court for what is referred to as a
Grant of Probate.
If there is not a Will the person dealing with the estate will be the estate administrator also known as the Personal Representative and following an application to the High Court they will receive a
Grant of Letters of Administration
. There is a strict hierarchy as to who can apply for Letters of Administration
There are several major confusions over the whole matter, perhaps the biggest misunderstanding is that the forms are the same whether you are applying for the
Grant of Probate or applying for
Letters of Administration.
Another common misconception is that it must be done whether you make a will or not. If you are automatically thinking that you need not make a will
in that case, then please cast that thought from your mind. If you do not have a will, you are deemed to die intestate
which is often worse for the family that you left behind. The law dictates who gets what and the law dictates who will deal with your affairs, this often causes arguments leading to a contentious probate
matter, certainly not the lasting legacy most of us would like to be remembered by.
Lastly some people think that a Letter of Administration is a standard letter than any legal advisor, solicitor or lawyer can prepare and hand to you. This is certainly not the case, an application for Letters of Administration must be submitted to the High Court Probate division and can only be submitted with an Inland Revenue account detailing the assets of the deceased person.
If you have any questions, comments or ideas that you wish to share let us know