Before dealing with a loved one’s estate, or any estate for which you’re an executor, you may need to get a grant of probate.
If you’re unsure about what probate is or whether you need or are eligible to apply for it, we answer all those questions and more in the links below.
This guide will help you understand what you must do after receiving a grant of probate or letters of administration.
What does getting probate mean?
Receiving a grant of probate or letters of administration means you have the legal right to administer and distribute the deceased’s estate.
However, there might be lots you can do before you get probate.
Ultimately, you will usually only need probate to:
- Get access to the deceased’s bank account, depending on how much cash they have.
- Sell any property the deceased owned.
- Claim against any life insurance policy the deceased had taken out – although these aren’t considered part of the estate.
- Deal with any assets or investments like stocks and shares.
You don’t need probate to use the Tell Us Once service or to begin to inform car and home insurers or utility companies of a person’s death.
It’s also worth noting that you may not need probate to access the deceased’s bank account. When you notify the deceased’s bank of their death, they’ll advise you of how much cash is in the account and their policies around releasing it. While each bank has its own policies and procedures, some will transfer sums of up to £50,000 once they have a copy of the death certificate without you needing to get probate.
This may mean you can start dealing with the deceased’s estate if you’re the executor or applying for probate as their personal representative. For example, if you can access their cash before getting probate, you can settle debts and pay taxes without waiting up to eight weeks for the grant of probate or letters of administration to arrive.
Is there anything to keep in mind when applying for probate?
Before you apply for probate, it’s best to understand what you’ll need to provide to different entities to get access to and distribute the deceased’s assets.
For example, banks and shareholding entities may need to see an original version of a grant of probate or letters of administration. Likewise, you’ll need this to sell the property or transfer ownership to the estate’s beneficiaries.
By speaking to all such entities, you can get an idea of how many copies of the grant of probate you’ll need. Extra copies only cost £1.50, but there’s no point in paying out for anything you don’t need, especially if you’ll need to reclaim that expense from the estate later.
What should I do after probate is granted?
It depends on the circumstances surrounding the deceased’s estate.
For example, if the deceased owned their home outright but had few other assets, the only thing you might need to do is sell the property or transfer ownership to the relevant inheritors.
In contrast, if the deceased had six figures in the bank, owned several properties, and had numerous share accounts and other investments, there’ll be more to do.
However, regardless of the complexity of the estate, the primary action after getting probate is for the executor or personal representative to distribute the estate as per the deceased’s wishes (if they left a will) or following the rules of intestacy (if there isn’t a will).
If you need help with probate, LawPlus Solicitors can help
Assessing the value of an estate and getting everything in order to apply for probate can be additional stress you don’t need at an already difficult time.
LawPlus Solicitors can help you navigate every stage of the process and ensure you can fully carry out your duties as an executor or personal representative of the deceased. Contact us here to discuss your needs and get started.