If your loved one has passed away and they have left a will, it is essential to know that sorting out estates is often a complicated process which is why many people hire a solicitor to handle it. Yet this may cost you a lot of money, especially when the estate is not complicated or small. Here is more information on what to do when someone has died and left a will.
What Is Involved In Sorting Out An Estate?
In basic terms, sorting out an estate when the person left a will mean getting probate, followed by distributing this estate as the will instructs.
What Is Probate?
Probate involves a document that is legal that permits the executor named in the will to handle the estate of a person as instructed according to their will. When there the person has left a will in Northern Ireland, Wales, and England, you are required to apply for what is known as “Grant of probate”.
When You Won’t Need probate
You may not need to apply for probate when:
When an estate is jointly held with the deceased’s surviving civil partner or spouse. For example, when the couple shares a bank account (joint account). Another example is when the estate does not include shares, property, or land.
Another common reason why probate might not be necessary is when the money that is held in a bank account falls in the bank’s limits. These limits and the policies that surround how to access these funds will vary according to the provider. In these situations, all you will need to do is contact the building society or bank to inform them that your loved one has passed away. They will usually request that you send a proof by sending copies of the death certificates. The surviving partner or spouse will be able to carry on accessing the joint account.
Who Should Handle A Will?
When someone leaves behind a will, they usually would have already chosen a person that they would like to be the executor. This is typically a bank, solicitor, a friend, or relative. It is also ubiquitous that an executor is one of the heirs of an estate.
If you were named as the executor, it is your responsibility to apply for probate. To apply for probate, you can hire a probate professional which usually costs a few thousand pounds, or you can do it on your own which typically requires a couple of hundred pounds.
When the estate’s value exceeds over £5,000, it will cost you £215 for the probate process. It is free when the estate’s value is under £5,000. These costs are typically paid from the estate directly when there are sufficient funds available.
If you feel that the process is overwhelming or too complicated, you can hire a specialist that deals with probate. It is also a good idea to hire a lawyer that do wills when doubts arise over whether the will is valid or not.