Gather the Relevant Documents
An essential aspect of probate is ensuring you have all the relevant paperwork associated with the deceased. To help in the process we details some of the information you will require to complete the probate process.
Where applicable, you will need details of the deceased person’s:
- Bank accounts
- Building Society accounts
- Savings accounts
- Mortgage or loan accounts
- Credit Cards
- Stocks and Shares
- Other investments
You will need an approximate value of each of the assets and / or debts. If you are aware of accounts or suspect that that other accounts exist but are unable to locate the paperwork, you may want to request a consultation with a probate solicitor.
You will need details of any income the deceased was receiving prior to their death, such as pensions, salary or benefits.
You will need details of property owned by the deceased, along with their approximate value. You will also need to know on how the property / properties were owned, such as sole or joint ownership.
Create a list of possessions held by the deceased, with an approximate value. This should include vehicles, jewellery, artwork or antiques, as well as other valuables, furniture and other personal possessions.
If a valid Will exists, the beneficiaries will be named in it. In the absence of a valid Will, the beneficiaries will be decided by the rules of intestacy.
If you are not sure who the beneficiaries are, or are unable to contact them, you may want to discuss this with a probate practitioner.
Notify Relevant Parties
The executor is responsible for notifying relevant parties of the death, including banks, utility companies, and government agencies. This will involve providing a copy of the death certificate and the grant of probate. It is also important to cancel any direct debits or standing orders and redirect mail to the executor’s address.
Gather and Value Assets
The executor must gather and value all assets of the estate, including property, investments, and personal belongings. This will involve obtaining valuations from professionals and obtaining any necessary insurance for the assets. It is important to keep detailed records of all assets and their values for tax purposes.
You may want to read: How to Value an Estate for Probate
Pay Debts and Taxes
Before distributing the estate to beneficiaries, the executor must pay any outstanding debts and taxes. This may include funeral expenses, outstanding bills, and inheritance tax. It is important to keep accurate records of all payments made and to seek professional advice if needed.
You may want to read: What happens to debt when you die and Probate and Inheritance Tax
Distribute the Estate
Once all debts and taxes have been paid, the executor can distribute the remaining assets to the beneficiaries according to the terms of the will. This may involve selling assets, transferring ownership, or distributing cash. It is important to keep detailed records of all distributions made.
By following this essential probate checklist, executors can ensure that the estate is administered efficiently and in accordance with the deceased’s wishes. If you are struggling with the probate process, it is recommended to seek the assistance of a solicitor or probate specialist. They can provide guidance and support to help you navigate this complex process.
Complicated Probate: Do any of the following apply?
In many cases it is perfectly possible to complete the probate process without professional support. In fact approximately 50% of probate applications are made by family and friends. However, if the estate is likely to be complicated it is highly advisable to seek the support of a professional. For example, if any of the following apply it’s a good idea to seek the services of a probate professional.
- Are there doubts over the validity of the Will?
- Did the deceased leave dependants who may have a claim for support but have been left out of the Will?
- Does the estate include arrangements such as assets held in trust?
- Is the estate insolvent, or are there doubts about the solvency of the estate?
- Does the estate include foreign property?
- Was the deceased domiciled outside the UK?