Probate – Frequently Asked Questions
Probate is the process of administering a person's estate who has passed away.
The process involves organising the estate, which includes; money, assets and possessions and then distributing them as an inheritance. Before distributing the estate, any taxes and debts will need paying.
If the deceased has left a Will, it will name someone that they've chosen to administer the estate. This person is known as the Executor of the Will.
Only the Executor named in the deceased's Will can apply for probate to administer their estate. However, if you have been named as an Executor but don't want to administer the estate yourself, you can instruct a solicitor to apply for probate on your behalf.
The role of the Executor is to;
- Collect all details of the estate's assets and debts
- Apply for the Grant of Probate
- Complete the inheritance tax return
- Pay any tax due
- Repay any of the deceased's outstanding debts (once the grant of probate is released)
- Distribute the rest of the estate as per the instructions left in the Will
The probate process can take between six months and a year for most estates. The amount of time depends on the size and complexity of the estate.
International probate can be more complex and can take between six months and two years.
If a dispute arises between the Executor, beneficiaries, creditors, or tax authorities, this can affect the time it takes to administer the estate.