Wills and Lasting Power of Attorney
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Probate Newcastle upon tyne
What is Probate?
Probate is simply a legal process which proves a Will is Valid, following this the "Estate" is dealt with and ensuring the wishes of the Will are met.
The term Probate is also used for the process of dealing with ‘the Estate’ where there is no Will. Sometimes this is known as distributing the Estate under Intestacy Rules.
Who can carry out probate?
If the deceased left a Will, they may have specified the designated executor or executors – these people are expected to “execute” the Will, which means they will share out the estate as specified and deal with any related complications, as well as carry out any other final wishes specified in the Will. However, you are not legally required to act as executor, even if you are the only executor named in the Will.
If there is no executor named, or there is no Will, someone must become the administrator of the estate – this will be someone who would benefit from the Will, or a blood relative if no Will exists.
The administrator largely performs the same tasks that an executor would, although they often have no Will to act upon.
Obtaining the Grant of Representation
To execute a Will, you will usually need to obtain the Grant of Probate or Letters of Administration. The Grant of Representation refers to the grant that you must obtain to carry out probate. The kind of grant that you need will depend on your circumstances, which is outlined as follows:
If you are named executor in the Will – Grant of Probate
If you are the administrator with no Will – Letters of Administration
If you are the administrator of a Will – Letters of Administration (with Will)
The Grant of Representation will make it possible for you to access all of the deceased’s assets, such as their bank and building society accounts. Doing so without the Grant of Representation would be very difficult, if not impossible. However, the Grant of Representation may not be needed if:
The deceased did not have much money in their accounts – a bank or building society may be willing to release the funds without a grant, or;
Their properties, bank or building society accounts and insurance policies were joint-owned by a surviving spouse or civil partner.
In the event of joint-owned accounts, the bank or building society may be willing to transfer sole ownership to the surviving civil partner or spouse if you present them with the death certificate. However, if they had any sole accounts, you will most likely need the Grant of Representation.
What to do if there is no Will?
As mentioned above, a blood relative will need to become an administrator of the estate if there is no Will, as without one, the deceased’s estate will become intestate, meaning that it must be distributed according to the strict rules of intestacy. If you are not sure what to do, contact a solicitor for advice.
Most small estates can be completed - or wound up - within a year. Of course, if it is particularly complicated, for example having property abroad, it may take longer. Or indeed if the Will is contested this could delay proceedings dramatically.
Our specialised team are available for a free hour, no commitment, advisory appointment to help determine what works best for
your circumstances. They will work with you in drafting your tailored documents.
When you decide to begin your journey in making your Will with us, we will be on hand to guide you through the process during the drafting process, and indeed after you have signed your new Will. We will be there to advise you on any changes and future concerns.
For more information, don't hesitate to book a free appointment or Request a call-back to see one of our friendly legal advisors.