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What is probate?

A Grant of Probate is a document which confirms that the executors have the legal authority to deal with the deceased’s estate. Probate will be granted to the people named in the Will as Executors or the person appointed by the Court if there is no will. From time-to-time Woodward Financials do lose clients through illness or natural causes and the below is a great help when a family goes through this difficult time.

Without the ‘Grant of Probate’ you may not be able to sell or deal with the assets. The procedure which is often referred to as “Probate” mean identifying and gathering in all the money and other assets of the deceased person, paying off any debts and distributing their estate. This is referred to as “administering the estate”.

Is a Grant of probate always needed?

Sometimes a Grant of Probate in not required. Banks may be willing to release money up to a certain limit (which varies from bank to bank) after being provided with a death certificate. If there is a jointly owned house or a joint bank account these assets may pass to the surviving owner automatically so again, a Grant of Probate may not be required. If the deceased person owned property in their sole name or had cash assets greater than £15,000 it is likely that a Grant of Probate will be required.

What are my responsibilities?

If you are the sole executor or one of the executors in the Will it is your responsibility to deal with the estate and this involves certain legal duties and responsibilities. You can be held personally liable for any losses if errors are made. This is why executors like the reassurance of having the assistance and guidance of a firm of solicitors.

We work with solicitors that can help with this process who can assist you and help you with any concerns you may have.

You don’t need to instruct the firm which holds the Will and you are entitled to collect the Will from them, as executors you must ensure that the work is undertaken efficiently which gives you the right to choose the law firm you trust, as Independent Financial Adviser we act in your best interest and this is also the same when recommending other professional advisers such as solicitors and accountants.

How long does probate take?

Some are straightforward which can be dealt with in a few months, but most typically will take six to twelve months. Inheritance tax or unexpected complexities are the likely causes of delays.

Before deciding on using a solicitor or doing it yourself the first steps tend to be?

Register the death, ensure the property and contents are secure, locate the will if there is one and arrange the funeral. Then give us a call and we can refer you to the appropriate professional services.

Using a solicitor may help if any of the below are a concern.

Time, Executor concerns, Gift to children or trust, Family disputes, Investments,tax claims and liabilities, Missing will, Foreign property or a challenge to a will.

In the majority of cases, Woodward Financials continue investing for the beneficiaries, but will take on new clients and give them the same service as any other client.

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For more information you can contact David on 01753 839348 or email