When you lose a loved one, it is already a stressful time – then you have to deal with probate. In this article we look at whether you can do probate yourself. DIY probate – can you apply for probate yourself? Let’s take a look.
What Is Probate?
Probate is the process you must follow when someone dies, to collect in all of the assets from their estate and distribute them to the beneficiaries under the will, after paying any Inheritance Tax Due or other financial liabilities.
The beneficiaries are the people named in the deceased’s Will, explaining how the estate (all of the collected assets of the deceased), should be distributed.
If there is no Will (referred to as someone dying ‘intestate’), the estate will be divided up in accordance with the law in England & Wales.
This means that ultimately, laws laid down by Parliament, decide who receives the estate and in what proportion. Obviously, this is not an ideal situation, which is why every adult in England & Wales should make a Will, that way they decide who receives how much from their estate.
Who Is In Charge Of The Probate Process?
Who should undertake applying for probate depends whether there was a valid Will, or whether the deceased died intestate.
If there is a valid Will, the deceased will have named ‘Executors’ and these people will be responsible for applying for probate and distributing the assets under the estate.
If you are an executor, then this is you. You now have the responsibility of applying for probate.
The great news for you is that it isn’t actually as hard as most people think it will be, and on this page we show you how to make it even easier, either by using a solicitor (the more expensive but hands free version) or by purchasing a very well reviewed, easy to follow DIY Probate back on Amazon.
If there is no Will, then the Next of Kin will be responsible for applying for probate, following the same steps, with the only difference being that they must distribute the estate in accordance with the laws on intestacy.
When Is Probate Not Needed?
If the estate consists of jointly owned property and assets and it is all passing to a remaining partner or spouse, then probate may not be required.
This is also usually the case if the value of the estate is under £10,000.
Why Do You Need To Apply For Probate?
Ultimately, applying for probate ensures two things:
- That the deceased’s estate is distributed in accordance with their wishes; and
- Any tax or other personal liabilities of the deceased’s estate (particularly inheritance tax) are paid first.
Probate protects those who were owed money by the deceased and ensures that those people who were important to the deceased receive what was intended.
What Is The Probate Process?
There are several steps to the probate process, but in summary these are as follows:
- Locate the Will, if there was one, to see who the Executors are.
- Obtain the death certificate.
- Register the death of the deceased.
- Notify all interested parties, such as utility companies, the local authority etc. A lot of this takes place at once when you are handed a form entitled Probate Tell Us Once after the deceased passes. This will notify HMRC, DVLA, Passport office and the pensions department etc.
- Add up the value of the deceased’s estate to see if any Inheritance tax is due to be paid.
- Apply for probate.
- Collect in all monies from the estate.
- Pay off all debts.
- Distribute the estate in accordance with the Will or the laws of intestacy.
- Finalise the estate accounts.
How Do You Apply For Probate?
First, you will need to complete the relevant Inheritance Tax Form, depending whether any Inheritance Tax is due to be paid or not.
If no tax is payable, it is form IHT205, if there is tax to be paid, it is inheritance tax form IHT400.
Once you have completed the appropriate IHT form, it is time to complete the appropriate probate form:
- Form PA1P if there is a Will; or
- Probate form PA1A if there is not a Will in existence.
Once you have submitted your forms, you then have to wait to receive your Grant Of Probate.
What Is Grant Of Probate
Once you submit your probate forms, you wait to receive Grant Of Probate, which is the Government checking you have done what you need to do and which allows you to start to collect in assets, pay debts and distribute the estate in accordance with the Will, or the rules of intestacy if no Will was in place.
So Grant Of Probate is the paperwork you need to allow you to settle the deceased’s estate.
It usually takes around eight weeks to receive Grant Of Probate, if you have submitted all of the paperwork correctly.
If there is no Will and you apply for probate you will receive Grant Of Letters Of Administration instead of Grant Of Probate, but ultimately it means the same thing – you have the power to collect in and distribute the deceased’s estate.
How Long Does Probate Take?
This will vary, depending on how quickly you can value the estate to see if any Inheritance Tax is payable, then apply for Grant Of Probate/Letters of Administration, collect in the estate and distribute it.
This can range from around 12 weeks to 6 months or longer if there is property to be sold.
DIY Probate Or Using A Solicitor For Probate
There are pros and cons for each of these options of course.
You can do DIY Probate from as little as £29.99 using the DIY Probate Pack below (other Government fees will be payable but these will be the same whether you use a solicitor or do probate yourself.
If you use a solicitor, the fee will usually run into several thousand pounds, but your involvement in the probate process will of course be much less.
The solicitor will complete all of the paperwork, file for Grant of Probate or Letters of Administration, collect in the assets, pay any debts then just send you any money due to you under the Will, so it is a much more hands off process.
If you would like a Solicitors Near Me solicitor to let you know how much this would cost (no charge for the enquiry), simply Enter Some Details Here:>>.
Alternatively, take a look at the DIY Probate Pack below.
The Complete Guide To DIY Probate – How To Apply For Probate Yourself
Created by a DIY Probate Expert, the DIY Probate Back contains everything that you need to do probate yourself, without a solicitor.
For a nominal cost, you receive a comprehensive, step by step guide to applying for probate yourself.
With nearly 500 reviews on Amazon, this is a truly tried, tested and trusted DIY Probate Pack.
Probate Terms Glossary
- Assets – the property and money owned by the deceased.
- Estate – all of the assets owned by the deceased.
- Executors – people named in the Will to apply for probate to settle the estate of the deceased.
- Grant Of Probate – the document received from the Government confirming that the probate forms were completed correctly and the estate can be settled.
- Inheritance Tax – the money paid to HMRC during the probate process when the current value of estate assets threshold for not paying Inheritance Tax has been passed.
- Intestate/ Intestacy – the term given to an Estate when the deceased had not made a valid Will.
- Letters of Administration – the document received from the Probate Registry after probate forms have been correctly submitted when there is no valid Will. See Grant Of Probate above.
- Liabilities – bills, debts and tax owing by the deceased.
- Probate – the name for the process of closing a deceased’s estate in accordance with their wishes in their Will or the laws of intestacy.
- Probate Forms – the forms that must be completed to apply for probate (one form when there is a valid Will, one for when there is not).
- Will – a legal document setting out the deceased’s wishes for the distribution of their estate.