Probate is a term that means dealing with someone’s estate (property, money, personal possessions, and even debts) after their passing. Probate is a legal right, so you’ll have to apply for this. Not everyone will be able to apply for probate and your eligibility will depend on whether the person who’s passed has left a will or not.
An executor/administrator can choose up to four people to share the responsibility with.
The probate involves:
The person in charge of the estate will also have to distribute the deceased’s assets according to the will, but if there’s no will, then you’ll have to follow what’s known as the rules of intestacy instead.
Side note: if the assets of the deceased are all jointly-owned, for example their husband or wife owns half, then the ownership will be automatically transferred, so no probate will be required.
You can apply for probate online or by post, or you can pay a solicitor to apply for you. There’s an application fee if the estate has a value of over £5,000.
Before applying, you’ll have to estimate and report the value of the estate to HMRC. How much the estate is worth will determine if Inheritance Tax is due.
We recommend using the HMRC IHT calculator, or for a full evaluation of your estate you can also contact our team. We can offer a consultation to discuss your qualifying assets and how this will affect the tax payable by your beneficiaries.
The threshold of tax-free inheritance for spouses is £1 million. They will only pay Inheritance Tax if you leave them an estate of more than £1 million.