Sabrina Owens, the niece of the late Aretha Franklin, took on the role of executor with the approval of the diva’s four sons shortly after the singer’s death. However, family disputes were described as the reason for Owens’ letter of…
Probate and Estate Administration
What is Probate
Probate is the word used to describe the legal process of administering the estate of a person who has died, and, after deducting debts and other liabilities, transferring that person’s money and possessions to the people who will inherit them: their beneficiaries.
There are three main stages in the process of Probate:
Who Needs Probate
Probate is generally required to enable a person’s assets (property, money and possessions) to be distributed following their death.
If the person who has died leaves a Will:
In this case one or more ‘Executors’ may be named in the Will to deal with the person’s affairs after their death. The Executor applies for a ‘Grant of Probate’ from a section of the court known as the Probate Registry. The Grant is a legal document which confirms that the Executor(s) has the authority to deal with the deceased person’s assets. They can use it to show they have the right to access funds, sort out finances, and collect and share out the deceased person’s assets as set out in the Will.
If the person who has died didn’t leave a Will:
If there is no Will, a close relative of the deceased can apply to the probate registry to deal with the estate. In this case , they apply for a ‘Grant of Letters of Administration’. If the Grant is given, they are known as ‘Administrators’ of the estate. Like the Grant of Probate, the Grant of Letters of Administration is a legal document which confirms the Administrator’s authority to deal with the deceased person’s assets.
Even if there is just one asset in the sole name of the deceased, it is likely that Probate could still be required. However, each case is unique and sometimes probate may not be needed, for example:
Whether or not the person who has died left a Will, the estate will have to be administered. Some estates are very simple to administer while others are very complex. The Executors’ and Administrators’ duties include:
Who is Responsible
The Executors or Administrators are responsible for administering the estate and are accountable to Her Majesty Revenue and Customs (HMRC) and to the beneficiaries. The process of administering an estate can be quite time consuming and also sometimes daunting. Please talk to us before you start as we can help you assess your situation and point you in the right direction.
Here are some things to think about:
For plain-speaking help and advice talk to our Probate Support Team 0800 368 9770