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Applying to Probate a Will

If you have been appointed as an executor of a will, you need to know how to probate a will.

First you will need access to the deceased’s will. The will may be held by the deceased’s bank, or solicitor or you may be able to find it among their personal possessions. If you are unable to find the will you must inform the probate registry, but it is important to do everything you can – without a copy, the probate process can be held up.

If the deceased has less than £5000 in assets, after funeral expenses, or all their assets are held jointly with a spouse or civil partner, you may not need to apply to the probate registry for a Grant of probate.

If this is not the case, you will need to apply for the documents which are necessary to enable you to gain access to the deceased’s financial accounts. If the deceased’s finances are straightforward, you may wish to independently apply. But if the estate is complicated, you may wish to consider professional assistance.

Just because you are the executor of the deceased’s will, it does not mean that you have to handle  everything yourself. It is perfectly acceptable to appoint a probate specialist to handle financial matters on your behalf.

In order to probate a will, you will need to complete Probate Application form PA1, which is available on the government website. You will also need to complete an inheritance tax form IHT 400. If no inheritance tax is owed you should complete form IHT 206 instead.

You will need to send both forms to the probate registry with a cheque to cover administration costs, the original copy of the death certificate and the original will.

If the application is straightforward, you should receive a grant of probate within 4 to 6 weeks. You will also receive letters to give to the financial institutions where the deceased held accounts. This will enable you to access the deceased finances and deal with their estate.

If the prospect of dealing with the deceased’s finances and taxes seems daunting, you should consider using a specialist probate service to deal with everything for you.

 

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