Granting of Probate: Understanding the Process

Estimated reading time 7 minutes

What is a grant of probate?

A grant of probate confirms the authority of executor to administer the estate of someone that has passed away. It is the executor of the will responsibility to manage and distribute the estate in accordance with the person who has died wishes.   However, this is not something that just anyone can decide to do.  In order to do this in the majority of cases you will need to obtain the legal authority, in England, Wales and Northern Ireland this is called applying for a “grant of probate”. 

If there is no will, the official document will be called the Grant of Letters of Administration and will be granted to close family members

Gaffsy says …. Do not put a probate property on the market until you have been given a grant of probate because you will not be able to exchange or complete on a sale until you have it.

Do I need a grant of probate?

  • Contact the financial organisations that the person who died used for example their bank, building society, credit card company they will all have their own rules. If the deceased owned high value assets in their sole name or had over £20,000 in the bank then probate is likely to be needed.
  • Probate will always be needed to sell a property owned in the deceased’s sole name.

When do you not need a grant of probate?

  • If the person who died had less than £20,000 savings. However, you will still need to check with the financial institution where the savings are held for further guidance and requirements.
  • If they only owned shares or money with others as this will automatically pass to surviving owners unless they have agreed otherwise.
  • If the land or property owned by the person who passed away was owned as joint tenants, sometimes called beneficial joint tenants it is most likely that the property will automatically pass to the surviving owner.

What is the grant of probate process?

1. Register the Death

The first step in the probate process is to register the death with the relevant authorities. You will need to obtain a death certificate, which is necessary for many legal procedures, including applying for probate.

2. Determine Whether Probate is Required

The next step is to determine whether probate is necessary. In England, if the deceased left a will, the executor named in the will is responsible for applying for probate. If the deceased did not leave a will, a family member or close friend can apply for probate.

3. Value the Estate

The executor will need to determine the value of the estate, which includes all of the deceased’s assets, such as bank accounts, property, investments, personal possessions and determining their value as well as identifying any debts owed including loans, utility bills etc.  In order to save time with HMRC in determining inheritance tax requirements you should provide them with a property valuation. Call Gaffsy and explain your situation we can provide you with a property valuation instantly, no obligation, no hassle, we don’t even have to visit the property.

4. Applying for Probate

Once the estate has been valued, the executor can apply for probate either on-line application or by post using form PA1P or PA1A. This involves completing the appropriate application form and submitting it to the probate registry. The application will include details of the deceased, the value of the estate, and the executor’s details.

5. Paying Inheritance Tax

If the estate is worth more than a certain threshold, inheritance tax will be payable. The executor will need to ensure the tax is paid before probate can be granted. Worth noting that where the major asset of the estate is a property or shares, HMRC will accept inheritance tax in instalments, and only require a tenth of the total in advance.

6. Grant of Probate

If the application is successful, the probate registry will issue a grant of probate usually within 16 weeks of submitting your application but it can take longer if additional information is needed. This document confirms that the executor has the authority to manage the estate and distribute the assets according to the deceased’s wishes.

7. Distributing the Assets

Once probate has been granted, the executor can begin to deal with the estate and share it with the beneficiaries named in the will or, if there is no will, according to the rules of intestacy. The executor will need to settle any outstanding debts and taxes before distributing the assets.

What happens after grant of probate?

So once probate has been granted this is what happens next, firstly the executor can now collect all the deceased’s assets which may involve liquidating some assets and closing UK bank accounts to make it easier for sharing.  Next debts will be deducted before the funds can be distributed. If you used probate solicitors their fees will be deducted from the estate money. Beneficiaries will receive the property at probate value. If it is sold capital gains tax will be payable on any increase in value from the time of death to the time of sale. Finally assets are distributed in accordance with the will. If there is no will the state assumes the role and distributes the estate according to the rules of intestacy.

Can you sell a house before grant of probate?

That depends, if you had a partner/spouse with whom you jointly owned the property, and your name appears on the title deeds, you can sell the property without probate. This is because the legal ownership of the property automatically passes to the surviving joint tenant, and no probate is needed if it’s sold.

If you are a tenant in common of the property then the deceased’s share will pass on to the person who is entitled to it according to the will or the rules of intestacy and in which case probate will be needed before selling the house.

For more details on how to sell a house in probate check out How to Sell a Probate Property Guide

How can Gaffsy help?

We can step in a take away the headache of finding an estate agent, finding a buyer, paying agency fees, as well as the ever-increasing costs of owning a vacant property. You will have already had to wait a number of months to be granted probate I am certain you don’t want to wait any longer to sell the house, you just want to sell the probate house quickly for cash.

We at Gaffsy make selling your probate home quick and simple, we don’t need you to fix up the property, we don’t need multiple viewings and we buy any house in any condition for cash. This means there is no waiting around for mortgage approvals, no property chains and we can buy your probate house fast, we don’t charge a fee, we even cover your solicitor costs and there is an instant pay-out after finalising the sale.

Gaffsy as professional house buyers will always ensure you receive a fair deal for your home, providing valuations to back up our offers so the process is transparent throughout. We can purchase your probate house very quickly or on a time schedule that suits you, just tell us and we will work with you to satisfy your needs.

Gaffsy have purchased a large number of probate properties assisting executors and beneficiaries to sell their probate house before, during and after a grant of probate. If you are an executor and need a house valuation for your probate and/or you have a grant of probate and a property to sell please contact the team today. Similarly if you are a beneficiary with a probate house to sell our team are here to help you throughout the selling process, if you would rather speak directly to one of the team you can call us today on 0207-459-4546, alternatively fill in the form for an on-line free cash offer.

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