When a person dies, whatever they leave behind has to be administered. However, whether or not their loved ones need Probate depends on the particular circumstances and each estate is different. Midwinters Partner, Mark Lynham (email@example.com), explains further:
There is often an assumption that when someone dies, it is necessary to apply for a Grant of Probate from the Probate Registry. However, each estate is different and it is necessary to consider the circumstances to work out whether a Grant is needed to administer the estate or not.
The process commonly known as Probate is explained further in the earlier Midwinters article “What is Probate?” and involves applying to the Probate Registry to obtain a Grant of Representation which is the legal authority for an Executor or Administrator to administer the estate of a deceased person. However, sometimes there is no actual need to obtain a Grant.
Whether a Grant is required depends largely on two factors: the size of the estate and the type of assets they owned. Taking the second factor first, there are some assets where a Grant of Probate will always be required to administer the estate. For example, if the deceased was the sole owner of a property, a Grant will be required in order to sell or transfer the property. Also, shareholdings of any substantial amount will generally also require a Grant. On the other hand, if the deceased only held cash in relatively small amounts or if they only owned joint property which passes to the surviving co-owner automatically, then, even if the value of the property is substantial, it may not be necessary to obtain a Grant.
The size of the estate is also relevant. If the deceased only had cash but a substantial amount, then the bank or building society holding the account will require a Grant before they will release the money they hold to the Executor. Unfortunately, banks and building societies each have their own different thresholds above which they will require a Grant. Some banks will release up to £50,000 without requiring a Grant whereas others will require a Grant even if the amount of cash held is less than £10,000.
The above is a very brief explanation of when a Grant of Probate may be required or not and it may be worthwhile speaking to a solicitor for some help and advice.
At Midwinters, we can offer an obligation-free initial appointment. Please call us on 01242 514 674 to discuss further.