Probate is the formal process of disposing of a deceased's effects and assets in line with their will. In most cases, the deceased will have already obtained the consent of a close friend or relative to act as executor of the will. As part of the executor's role, they may need to apply for probate - the legal right to dispose of someone's assets. Interestingly, an appointed executor doesn’t automatically have the right of probate; certain steps need to be followed in order for this right to be granted. Here we tell you what usually needs to be done in order for probate to commence.
Before any assets are disposed of, the tax office must get their share! As executor, you will need to fill in a tax return on behalf of the deceased, detailing any profits, assets, pensions, shares, savings interest or other taxable income so that HMRC can calculate what, if any, tax is due. There is plenty of information on the HMRC website regarding how to go about this. Some executors may employ an accountant or solicitor to assist, particularly if the deceased's financial affairs were complex. Even if the deceased doesn't owe any tax, you may still need to fill in a tax return, or one of the simpler forms of paperwork which declares the amount and form of the deceased's estate.
Complete A PA1 Form
A valid PA1 form will need to be completed before probate is granted. The PA1 form is a request to the government for formal permission to dispose of the deceased's estate. PA1 forms can be filled in online as well as in printed form.
The Original Will And Copies
Before probate can be granted, the official giving permission will also need to see the will. They will also need to see a copy of the death certificate, in order to be confident that the executor is legally able to undertake their role.
Once all the above information has been forwarded to the government, provided everything is in order, permission for probate to proceed is normally given. There are no timescales by which all the relevant evidence has to be submitted. That said, many executors prefer to commence probate in as timely a manner as possible so that relatives can inherit and hopefully achieve a degree of closure. To find out more about probate or for further information on the probate application process, please get in touch.
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