How big does an estate have to be before Probate is necessary?

Probate explained

Probate isn’t typically something we think about until such a time as it’s necessary. When a loved one dies and we find ourselves responsible for administering an estate, questions begin to arise. Do I really need Probate? Where do I begin with obtaining it?

Luckily, a professional such as a Kent accountant for Probate services can help you answer some of these questions. But in the meantime, here’s a brief guide on applying for a Grant of Probate/Grant of Letters of Administration, and how large an estate needs to be before you need to obtain the document.

What is the threshold for releasing funds?

Unfortunately, there’s no hard and fast answer to this question, since every bank and building society has its own threshold for releasing funds. Some may be willing to release up to £50,000 without Probate, while others won’t release funds over £5,000 without the document.

The institution you’re dealing with will let you know if they require a Grant of Probate or a Grant of Letters of Administration before closing an account and transferring the funds within it.

What is Probate?

Probate is a general term that refers to a Grant of Probate – the document that is issued if the deceased has left a Will – or a Grant of Letters of Administration – which is required if there is no Will. In both cases, the document shows that the holder has the legal right to administer the estate according to the decedent’s wishes, or according to the rules of intestacy.

How do I apply for Probate?

Applying for Probate is often a time consuming and labour intensive process. It involves identifying all the assets owned by the decedent – including property, bank accounts, shares and more – and contacting the asset holders to obtain a valuation. You also need to calculate any debts owed, as well as how much inheritance tax is due.

The complexity of the process depends on several factors, such as whether the deceased left any instructions about where assets were held, if there are any overseas assets to deal with, and whether there are business interests to be handled. Typically, you can expect the collection of all the relevant data for your application to take 4-12 weeks.

For this reason, many people seek the assistance of Kent tax advisors, so that they know the estate has been valued correctly and that they’re paying the right amount of inheritance tax.

Once you’ve submitted your application, Probate should be issued within eight weeks, although it can take up to 12 weeks. It’s important to ensure all the required information is submitted with the application, so that there are no delays due to additional documents being requested.

Can a professional apply for Probate on my behalf?

Yes, a professional, such as an accountant that is licenced for Probate services, can make all the necessary calculations and apply for Probate on your behalf. Simply contact a reputable firm to discuss your needs and circumstances.

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