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My father left a Will which left everything to me, do I need Probate?


My father died in 2015 and I dealt with everything then. I closed his bank accounts, notified the DWP and utility companies. I’ve now instructed estate agents to market my father’s property and they have asked me for the Grant of Probate. My father had a Will and left everything to me so why do I need a Grant of Probate to sell his house?
My mother didn’t leave a Will, I’ve just notified the bank to close her account and they have asked for a Letters of Administration, what is this?


Above are examples of some of the questions asked by bereaved family members/Executors when coming to terms with dealing with the administration of the Estate of a family member or friend.

The term ‘Probate’ is one which is often misunderstood. Probate is known as the process of dealing with and administering an estate of a deceased. This involves:

  • notifying all relevant asset and liability holders i.e. banks, utility companies, pension providers etc,
  • collecting in all assets i.e. money from bank accounts, proceeds of sale of house etc,
  • discharging liabilities i.e. debts, mortgages, taxes etc
  • distributing in accordance to the Will (if there is a valid Will) or in accordance to the rules of intestacy (if there is no valid Will).

A ‘Grant of Probate’ or ‘Grant of Letters of Administration’ is a legal document which grants an executor named in the Will or an administrator entitled under the rules of intestacy, the legal authority to wind up the affairs of a deceased person.

Whether the deceased left a valid Will or not has no bearing on whether Probate is or is not required. It usually depends on how the assets were held i.e. are assets in a sole name or in joint names and what is the value of such assets.

Probate can be time consuming and sometimes overwhelming so always assess your own commitments and the time you can provide to administering an estate in the correct manner. In addition, if you make any mistakes when dealing with an estate of a deceased i.e. incorrect calculation of Inheritance Tax, unknown creditors for unpaid liabilities leading to further debts or incorrect distribution etc, you could be held responsible. You could incur fines with HM Revenue and Customs, you could be held financially responsible or you could be asked to exhibit a full inventory of the estate and defend any claim made against you from disgruntled beneficiaries.

Our team of solicitors can support you with making sure you carry out your duty correctly. You can instruct us to deal with one aspect of the probate process or the whole administration of the estate. Contact our private client department and speak to our team of experts for further information.

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