Probate

Probate explained

Probate is the legal and financial process of dealing with the property, money, and possessions of a person who has died. It is usually needed when the deceased person owned property or significant assets in their sole name. Suppose a bank or other financial institution has asked for a grant of probate or a grant of letters of administration (also called a grant of representation). In that case, probate is likely to be needed. It is of course a challenging time emotionally for the family and friends involved.

Probate Services

Fern Wills & LPAs specialises in estate planning services. We do not directly offer probate services. After enquiries from our clients asking for help, we have sourced trusted partners for probate services. To be a partner, they must share the same principles and values. They will always have at least a decade's experience and full membership of either The Society Of Will Writers (SWW), Institute of Professional Will Writers (IPW) or be registered with the Law Society. They will assign a personal probate case manager with specialist experience, services, contacts and insurance to cover the probate process. 

We have negotiated preferential rates and service standards to serve our clients better. In line with our transparency policy, all fees and costs will be detailed in the written probate quote provided before work commences.

Responsibility for handling the estate

When someone passes away, a personal representative or executor is responsible for managing their estate. If there's a will, executors can apply for probate. If there's no will, the personal representative administers the estate. Executors can give up their rights or hire a probate specialist. It's essential to understand responsibilities to avoid legal consequences.

Probate Vs Wills & LPA's

Probate is required depending on the deceased person's financial situation, not on whether they left a Will or had LPAs. LPAs give authority to act on a person's behalf while they are alive only. The Will directs executors on how to distribute the estate. Probate is part of the process of dealing with the legal and financial affairs of the deceased estate. It's important to note that having power of attorney during someone's lifetime doesn't affect whether probate is necessary after their death.

You may not need probate.

Probate is required based on the estate's size and the asset's value. If the estate is small, has no property, and has a bank balance of less than £5,000, probate may not be necessary.  However, banks have their own rules, so it's best to check if a grant of representation is needed. If not, a Statutory Declaration may still be required. 

Joint assets like a bank account or a property with a co-owner will pass to the surviving owner through the right of survivorship. A death certificate is required to transfer the asset.

Assets & Houses

A solely owned house or property owned by tenants in common needs probate to sell or transfer a deceased co-owners share to their beneficiaries.

Planning for Probate

Our clients frequently share with us their experiences of how their parents made the executor's job less complicated by organising old paperwork, categorising items stored in the attic, giving away low-value items and clothes to charity, and preparing lists of accounts and individuals to contact. They say that many elderly or seriously ill family members have been more practical than them when dealing with such situations. Of course, this is only part of the process, and the legal and financial elements are more complex and time-consuming.

Of course, only so much can be done in advance because probate can only begin after death. However, if authorised, with a registered LPA, you can manage someone's legal and financial affairs before their passing. This can help simplify the probate process in the future. Executors or next of kin have no authority over the estate until after death.

We do not offer any pre-paid probate plans or products, nor do we promote or endorse those of any other firm.

Please don't stress

Coping with the administration of a deceased loved one's assets can be a challenging and emotional time. Numerous legal and financial tasks must be completed, which can add to the stress of the situation. Our partners can assist you in managing these formalities for your family during this difficult time. They will handle the necessary paperwork, freeing you to concentrate on your personal grief and recovery.

Our partners always offer a free, no-obligation consultation. They will be honest about pricing and let you know if you don't need any help. Regardless of your decision, they will provide helpful information so you have everything to gain and nothing to lose.

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