During the probate process, you have the option of either applying for a Grant of Probate, also known as a Grant of Representation, or using a solicitor or another person licensed to provide probate services.
How to Applying for Probate
At SCL Wills and Probate, our wills and probate solicitors offer this service to clients in the London area and also in Hertfordshire, Bedfordshire, and Buckinghamshire.
If you choose to apply for a grant of probate, there are a few steps that must be followed. You will need to complete a probate application form, inheritance tax form, send in your application, and swear an oath.
You can either complete the application form on your own or get help from the Probate and Inheritance Tax helpline for filling out the form.
The Inheritance Tax form must be filled out with information about how much the estate is worth. The value of the estate must be worked out to determine if there is an inheritance tax that must be paid on the estate.
The value of the estate includes all property, investments, possessions, and any cash gifts that were made within seven years prior to the date of death.
You need to fill in the form for all estates, even if you think no tax will be owed. Be aware that sending inaccurate information on this form can result in a penalty, so make sure the information on the form is accurate.
There is an inheritance tax threshold of £325,000 and taxes must be paid on estates valued at this amount or higher. There are two separate forms for estates below or above the threshold, so make sure you are using the correct form.
To ensure the information provided on the form is accurate, you will need to establish the assets and debts of the deceased. Depending on the number of properties, investments, and possessions, this can be complicated.
When the estate includes property, it will need to be valued. You may be able to do this on your own, but a written valuation of the estate may be needed if the figure you provide is challenged.
What to Include with the Application
When the application is complete, you will need to send it to the local Probate Registry with a cheque for £215 for all estates valued at £5,000 or more.
In addition, you must include the Inheritance Tax form, the original will and three copies, and an official copy of the death certificate. The original will is needed to show that you are authorized to act as the executor of the estate.
Once the probate office receives your application, you will be sent an oath and information about how to arrange an appointment at your local probate office or a commissioner for oaths.
This oath promises that you have provided information that is true to the best of your knowledge. You may use your own probate solicitor for probate services.
Prior to HMRC accepting the valuation of the estate and granting probate, any inheritance tax that is due must be paid in advance. This can be done from the bank account of the deceased, when possible, a direct payment, or an installment plan.
The probate process can be confusing, so it is a good idea to seek the advice of wills and probate solicitors. Our probate lawyers in London and surrounding areas have helped many families and have the knowledge and experience to help you through the process.