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What is the Probate process?

Posted on Monday, 14th December 2015 by

Following the death of a loved one the prospect of administering their estate may seem daunting and the legal process intimidating. A common question relates to the term Probate which from time to time can be misunderstood.

What is Probate


what is probate








Probate itself is a formal approval of the Probate Registry to administer the estate of the deceased. To signify Probate has been granted the court issues a sealed document in the name of the executors for production to banks, building societies or other financial institution who may be holding assets. Solicitors selling or buying a property belonging to a deceased person will require sight of a sealed grant before completing a sale. Probate is issued following an application accompanied by a sworn application and HMRC inheritance tax return.

Exceptions to Probate



bank policy







There are exceptions where a grant of probate is not necessary usually where the assets are less than £15000. Some major high street banks and building societies will subject to a receiving a signed indemnity from the executors or beneficiaries release funds to the estate. It is worth noting the amount may vary depending on the size of the institution and their policy with regard to small estates.

Passing without a Will


Probate without a Will








In the case of a person who dies intestate (without a Will) the process is the same in so far as it is necessary to file a tax return and apply by means of a sworn oath. However in the case of intestacy the application is made by the person or persons having the legal right to deal with the estate and known as the Personal Representatives. In the case of an intestate estate it is not uncommon to refer to the process as Probate but the correct term is a Grant of Letters of Administration.

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The information provided in all of our blogs reflects only a narrative of some elements to consider on the topic. The blogs do not contain considered legal advice and should not be relied upon as advice. Please see our website terms and conditions for full details of our disclaimer. If you are interested in obtaining advice, please contact one of our lawyers who will be happy and able to advise you on your own particular circumstances.

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