Things you Need to Know About Applying for Probate – Post Covid 19 – Series 1

The Covid 19 Pandemic has added an extra layer of complexity to the already challenging process of Probate.

Sorting out financial affairs for a friend or relative after death was difficult before Covid 19, but lockdown has made the process more challenging and time consuming.

Sadly, we have situations where the pandemic means, where people have agreed to be named as an executor, on a friend or families will years ago, have passed.

Also if they are able to act, they will find that it is now time to do their duty, and apply for probate – the legal right to deal with somebody’s estate, (their property and monies after they have died).

There are a number of practical matters, in no particular order, which are often over looked in the execution of the administration of the estate, and some of these items are simply made as tips to assist somebody in the administration of the estate.

Do Not Leave your Executors in the Dark.

If you are named as the executor on a friends or relatives will, the overriding message from us, is to speak to them about their financial affairs whilst they are still alive, and know where key documents can be found.

The absolute necessity is to establish where the original copy of their will is, so you can apply for probate.

Without the original will, it can sometimes be very complicated to apply for a Grant of Probate for somebody’s estate.

As the executor, you can apply for a Grant of Probate to get the authority to locate and value all the assets of the person who has died, including their bank accounts, pensions and investments, their home and its contents, any insurance payouts, plus any outstanding debts.

Depending on its value, there maybe inheritance to pay, (the current threshold is £325,000).

When asked to be an executor, you should ask the person nominating you in their will, to keep updated records of all their assets, including details of any gifts, including debts etc. These will be taken into account when calculating the value of the estate.

Without a Grant of Probate, an executor cannot pass on bequests to the beneficiaries; properties and other assets cannot be sold, debts cannot be settled.

Beware that if the estate is worth over £325,000, you may find that HM Revenue and Customs will go through valuations with a fine toothcomb, and the District Valuer may be asked to value a property to check out what you have submitted.

Remember HM Revenue and Customs are there to collect tax.

If a friend or relative has left money to a charity in their will, be aware that in our experience charities can be very impatient regarding their donations, and demanding updates and timelines as to when they will get their money.

This is particularly relevant in the post Covid 19 situation, as charities are desperate for monies, and some may even go to the wall without Government intervention.

All charities to some extent or another rely on donations, and these have been severely reduced owing to the Covid 19 situation.

We offer a service where, we will draft and provide the appropriate paperwork, for the application for the Grant of Representation to be made.

Please do not hesitate to contact to us if you have any queries on this matter.