Steps Involved in Probate 
April 30, 2024

Probate is the legal right to deal with the administration of a deceased person’s property, money, and possessions (their estate) when they die.  

The tasks involved in estate administration vary according to the specific assets and their value in each case, but usually include preparing Inheritance Tax (IHT) forms, closing bank accounts, selling property, and distributing assets. 

If the deceased has left a Will, the executor named in the Will must apply for a grant of probate to administer the estate.  

In cases where there is no Will, an administrator will be appointed following the rules of intestacy, who will apply for a grant of letters of administration. This is essentially the same as a grant of probate, which gives the legal authority to administer the estate. 

Executors and administrators are collectively known as personal representatives (PRs). 

Probate can be complicated and often requires significant time and paperwork. Enlisting the help of an experienced probate solicitor can help. 

A specialist Wills and probate lawyer can guide you through what is involved, drawing on their experience and familiarity with the process to ensure nothing is overlooked. Personal representatives can be financially liable for any mistakes made while administering an estate, so it is crucial to get it right. 

In this blog, our Private Client Solicitors look at the six key stages of estate administration. 

  1. Identify the deceased’s assets.  

The first step is to collate the various assets that comprise the deceased’s estate. This includes properties, money, investments, life insurance policies, jewellery and other personal possessions.  

You should make an inventory of all assets and gather all the necessary supporting paperwork and documentation so that it is in one place and to hand. 

At this stage, you must also locate the deceased’s Will and register the death. 

  1. Value the estate and pay any tax due.  

Once you have established what comprises the deceased’s estate, you need to work out if there is any IHT to pay. This must be done before applying for probate. 

This is done by estimating the estate’s value. Currently, the IHT nil-rate band is £325,000, which means the estate is not liable for IHT if it is worth less. If IHT is due, it must be paid by the end of the sixth month following the date of death. 

Valuing an estate takes work, especially if overseas assets or Trusts are involved. However, PRS must take all necessary steps to ensure they have tracked down all an estate’s assets and presented an accurate valuation, as they could be personally responsible for any mistakes. 

A lawyer with experience in probate claims will be able to ensure all the deceased’s assets and liabilities are located, thereby ensuring accurate figures are submitted to HMRC and protecting executors and administrators against future claims. 

At Bowsers Solicitors, we understand that being tasked with distributing an estate following a loved one’s death can be difficult. Therefore, seeking the appropriate advice and guidance is essential. 

To speak to one of our friendly yet professional private client solicitors or chartered legal executives today, please call 01945 583194 (Wisbech) or 01354 652606 (March) or email reception@bowsers.co.uk. Alternatively, you can fill in our contact form

  1. Apply for a grant of probate/ letters of administration.  

If probate is necessary, PRs can then apply for a grant of probate (or letters of administration in cases of intestacy), which is the legal permission to administer an estate. You’ll usually receive this within 16 weeks of the Probate Registry receiving your application.  

  1. Inform interested parties.  

Once the executor has received the grant of probate, copies should be sent to all asset and liability holders, along with a request to release any funds where applicable. 

Asset and liability holders can include, for example: 

  • Banks and building societies. 
  • Mortgage company. 
  • Landlord. 
  • Insurance companies. 
  • Electric, gas and water companies. 
  1. Gather assets of the estate.  

At this stage, any monies owed to the deceased should be collected, assets sold, and debts settled. It is usually advisable to open a separate bank account for the relevant financial transactions on behalf of the estate. 

  1. Distribute assets.  

Once the final accounts have been prepared, the PRs can then distribute the estate according to the deceased’s wishes as set out in the Will or by following the rules of intestacy. 

Probate Solicitors March and Wisbech 

At Bowsers Solicitors, we understand that being tasked with distributing an estate following a loved one’s death is highly emotional. Our team of solicitors is here to help.  

We can help with the administration of an estate in various ways, including: 

  • Inheritance tax advice. 
  • Estate account preparation. 
  • Accounting for income tax during the administration period. 
  • Deed of variation preparation. 
  • Obtaining a grant of probate. 
  • Payments of debts and expenses. 
  • Distribution of the estate to beneficiaries. 

Our specialist probate solicitors in March and Wisbech have assisted many local people with their estate administration matters and deal with all legal issues efficiently and effectively. 

Even if you believe that your case is straightforward, it is sensible to seek legal advice. This will provide added peace of mind that specialist advice is on hand if any unexpected issues arise. 

To speak to one of our friendly probate solicitors or chartered legal executives today, please call 01945 583194 (Wisbech) or 01354 652606 (March) or email reception@bowsers.co.uk. Alternatively, you can fill in our contact form