What is probate?
When a person dies somebody has to deal with their estate (money, property and possessions) by collecting in all the money and assets, paying all debts and tax, and distributing what is left to those people entitled to it.
Probate is the process to establish ownership of an estate before the assets are distributed. Probate is normally the responsibility of the executors of a Will, who often appoint a professional firm, such as Alder Wills and Probate Ltd, to take on the responsibilities of handling probate and administering the estate. A similar process is required when a person dies without making a will, and this is called a ‘Grant of Letters of Administration’.
The process of administering an estate and obtaining probate is usually very time consuming and complex. There are a number of legal, financial and tax implications, which is why most people need professional help.
Here are some of the duties involved:
- Locate the original Will.
- Complete and file the court forms for the Grant of Probate.
- Attend a personal interview at the Probate Registry.
- Obtain valuations of the deceased’s assets at the time of death.
- Identify and collect all of the deceased’s assets (including selling any property the deceased owned).
- Pay all of the debts of the deceased plus the funeral expenses and other expenses of obtaining the Grant of Probate e.g. Court Fees.
- Distribute the deceased’s assets in accordance with the terms of the Will.
- Ensure that the wishes of the deceased as stated in the Will are carried out.
- Prepare and submit tax returns for the deceased for Inheritance Tax, Capital Gains Tax and Income Tax.
- Obtain tax clearances before distributing the estate.
- Prepare estate accounts for the beneficiaries.
- After payment of all claims, distribute the estate.
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