What is Probate
Probate is a term commonly used when talking about applying for the right to deal with the affairs of someone who has died. However, you’ll find that different terms are used, depending on if the deceased person left a will and where they lived.
If the deceased has a will, the executor or administrator will apply for a Grant of Probate. The grant is a legal document which confirms that the executor has the authority to deal with the deceased person’s assets (property, money and belongings). This is called ‘administering the estate’. The Executor uses the grant to show they have the right to access funds, sort out finances, and collect and share out the deceased person’s assets as set out in the will.
If the deceased didn’t leave a will, the established next of kin of the deceased can apply to the probate registry to deal with the estate. In this case they apply for a ‘Grant of Letters of Administration’. If the grant is given, they are known as ‘administrators’ of the estate. Like the grant of probate, the grant of letters of administration is a legal document which confirms the administrator’s authority to deal with the deceased person’s assets.
Do You Need Probate?
A grant is almost always needed when the person who died leaves one or more of the following:
- £10,000 or more
- stocks or shares
- certain insurance policies
- property or land held in their own name or as ‘tenants in common’
In most cases above, the bank or relevant institution will need to see the grant before transferring control of the assets.
You may not need a grant if the deceased:
- left less than £10,000
- owned everything jointly with someone else and everything passes automatically to the surviving joint owner