When someone close to you dies and you’re dealing with the estate, it is easy to get overwhelmed when considering the upcoming tasks and the unfamiliar language associated with them. Firstly, it is important to understand the basics; this blog post aims to answer some of the most common questions associated with handling an individual’s estate after they have died, including:
- What is probate?
- What is estate administration?
- What is the difference between probate and estate administration?
You might be aware of probate but you may not have heard of the term estate administration. Although both are related to dealing with the deceased’s estate, they have different definitions and people often get the two confused.
What is probate?
Probate may be required when someone passes away. The umbrella term, Grant of Representation, refers to the Grant of Probate or Letters of Administration (if there is no Will) in England & Wales. This is called Confirmation in Scotland.
Although probate is often mistaken as the term for all tasks involved in handling a deceased person’s affairs, it only refers to obtaining the grant that enables you to carry out these tasks.
If there is a Will, the Testator (the person who created the Will) should have named an Executor to deal with its contents, including applying for probate if necessary. There can be multiple Executors named in a Will. However, only one can be named on the Grant of Probate.
What does applying for probate involve?
In England & Wales (Grant of Probate)
In Scotland (Confirmation)
Submitting a C1, along with other forms (C5, C5SE or IHT400) depending on the make-up of the estate
When is probate required?
Probate is usually required if the deceased owned any property in their sole name or if a financial institution (e.g. a bank or building society) needs to see the Grant of Probate in order to release the funds. Individual institutions will have differing thresholds for probate.
Probate is not likely to be needed if the assets were held jointly as they will automatically pass to the surviving spouse or civil partner.
A common misconception is that probate is not required if there is a Will. However, if there are solely owned assets or the estate value is over the financial institution’s threshold, a Grant of Probate is still necessary whether the individual passed away with a Will or intestate.
There is a set government fee of £273 for obtaining the Grant of Probate. However, if the estate value is £5,000 or less, there is no fee payable. If you choose to instruct a professional to obtain probate on your behalf, there will be an additional cost. Read our blog to find out more about probate fees and how they can be paid.
What is estate administration?
Estate administration is the process of handling all of a person’s legal and tax affairs after they’ve died. In short, this means dealing with their assets, debts, and taxes before distributing inheritance to the estate’s beneficiaries. If you are an Executor or Administrator, it is your responsibility to administer the estate or instruct a professional to complete estate administration on your behalf.
What is involved in the estate administration process?
Obtaining the Grant of Probate is usually a part of estate administration but beyond that it could involve:
- Completing Inheritance Tax forms
- Income Tax work
- Postal redirection
- Registering or selling properties
- Valuing assets
- Cancelling or transferring utilities
- Dealing with shares and investments
- Distributing funds to beneficiaries
- And more
Estate administration can often be extremely complex and time-consuming, adding stress at an already difficult time for the Executor or Administrator. However, they do not have to take full responsibility for all tasks. They can choose to appoint a professional to handle the estate on their behalf.
Kings Court Trust is happy to help with the administration of all estates. We are award-winning estate administration specialists who know how to handle everything from intestacy to foreign shares. Our unique service allows you to leave the challenging tasks to us and handle everything on your behalf, giving peace of mind during bereavement.
How long does it take to administer an estate?
As each estate is unique, it is almost impossible to predict exactly how long the process will take without knowing more specific details about the estate. Estate administration is a complicated legal process; therefore, it should be expected that it will take months rather than weeks.
What is the difference between probate and estate administration?
To sum up the difference between probate and estate administration, probate is just one part of the wider estate administration process. Probate provides you with the legal right to move forward with estate administration. Although probate is not always required, estate administration must always be carried out, regardless of the value or complexity of the estate.
Kings Court Trust is an expert in estate administration and has helped thousands of families. We offer a range of services, from applying for the Grant of Probate only, to full estate administration for a transparent, fixed fee.
If you have any questions about applying for probate or the estate administration process, get free guidance and advice from our Client Services Team by calling 0300 303 9000 or completing the form below.