Probate is the process that you go through when someone has passed away.
Not everybody needs to go through probate—it depends on what assets you have, and how you hold those assets. For instance if you have a house, and that house has to be sold then you will need a ‘Grant of Probate’.
A Grant of Probate is obtained if you have a Will and you have appointed executors. Your executors have to get a Grant of Probate to be able to administer your estate and to be able to sell your house.
However, in order to get a Grant of Probate you have to prove whether or not the estate has to pay inheritance tax. Even if you do not pay inheritance tax, you still have to complete inheritance tax forms and complete an Oath, and send both the Oath along with the Will to the probate registry.
Providing everything is okay they will issue that Grant probate.
If someone does not have a Will, but owns a house for example, then you get what they call a Grant of Administration, which is slightly different – because you do not have a Will to rely on.
If people are beneficiaries then they can also apply to the probate registry to be given a Grant, so they can at least deal with the assets in the estate, and their job then is to make sure those assets pass according to to the Intestacy rules – so the correct beneficiaries get those assets.
It can sometimes be quite a lengthy and complex process to value someone’s estate, which is why most clients come to us for help.