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Probate Property: What it is and what it means for you

The loss of a loved one is a traumatic time. And it doesn’t help the grieving process if you are forced to go through a complicated set of financial affairs at a stressful time, either. That’s why it’s important not to leave it until then to understand the terminology and practical considerations needed.

It may not be nice to think about, but thinking about what you want to happen with your property and belongings, and that of your loved ones too, will save you some upset down the line and help everyone to cope when the time comes. Our short guide will get you up to speed.

Alternatively, if you are facing probate and are concerned that you simply don’t know enough about it, read up to find out more.

What is probate property?

You might well have heard of the word probate, but it’s important to understand what it means so that you can establish what to do in your own personal circumstances.

While it might be used in a number of ways, the word probate refers to the legal and financial process involved in dealing with the estate – property, money, assets, and possessions – left behind by someone when they die.

Many people also use the word ‘probate’ to refer to a ‘grant of representation’. This is the physical legal document that gives someone permission to handle someone’s estate.

If the person leaves a will then they will typically name one or more executors – and these will most commonly apply for this permission.

An application costs £215 and you can find the forms for this here.

Does everyone need probate?

If an estate passes to a spouse or partner who jointly held the asset or it doesn’t include land, property or shares, then you may not need to enter into the process of probate. However, it is important to check this.

Do I need a specialist?

If the affairs of your loved one are slightly more complicated, then you might well need to turn to a specialist. More complicated matters can be anything from handling the estate of someone without a will, ensuring that the correct amount of inheritance tax is paid, or making sense of complex financial arrangements such as trust funds or investments.

The services of a specialist can cost you up to five percent of the total estate left behind, plus VAT. It’s often the case that you can use the services of the same solicitor that helped to draw up the will of your loved one. Alternatively, you can use the services of the Law Society to find someone to handle the affairs. Some people do choose to handle some of the processes themselves and turn to a solicitor just to check the documents they have drawn up. This is only advisable if you have some experience in this field, however.

What about inheritance tax?

Any inheritance tax due to the estate of someone who dies should be paid within six months of the death. That can be tough on families who have complicated affairs to go through, especially if they need to put a house up for sale on the market. You can try to apply to extend this, or you can enlist the services of our team at We Buy Any Home who can sell your home and give you peace of mind in seven days. Many people value the chance to be able to make a swift sale so that they can wrap up the legal process as soon as possible and also to be able to start to move on emotionally.

Inheritance tax is calculated at 40 percent of anything over £325,000.

Read our guide on inheritance tax here.

What information do I need to complete the process?

You need some key paperwork to hand – and to make copies (the Money Advice Service advises six of each) of the following:

  • death certificate
  • birth certificate
  • a will
  • any codicils to the will (a legal document outlining any changes the deceased may have made)
  • marriage or civil partnership certificate

It’s worth knowing where these documents are, alongside any other paperwork relating to the property or other assets. WeBuyAnyHome is an expert at dealing with people in the probate process and can help you to ensure you manage the sale of a property in an appropriate way.

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