Could you make a personal application for a grant of probate? The simple answer is yes. It is possible to handle probate yourself but, more importantly, should you?
Where there is a will, an executor will normally be appointed. However, if no will exists or no executor is able, then the administrator will have power to undertake the administration of an estate.
Administrators and executors are collectively known as personal representatives (PRs). Being a personal representative is a very responsible position and needs to be someone who has the time and aptitude to fulfil the role. The work involved in administering an estate is broadly the same whether someone left a will or died intestate (without a will). However, the beneficiaries will be ascertained by the will. Without this, they will be ascertained by applying the law of intestacy.
The main elements to dealing with the administration are:
- Considering the duties and powers available to them
- Registering the death and dealing with the funeral arrangements
- Ascertaining the value of the deceased’s estate and the requirements to collect in the assets
- Applying for any necessary grant of probate and payment of taxes, and collecting/transferring the assets once the above requirements have been met
- Payment of the liabilities, funeral and testamentary expenses and any legacies in accordance with the strict order for payment
- Completing the administration by accounting to the residuary beneficiaries or trustees.
Many people find it difficult to grasp this legal process whilst also dealing with the emotional fall-out of losing a loved one. A skilled probate solicitor is professionally trained to deal with the process and the legalities.
Often an estate may look straightforward, but then problems arise which solicitors will be able to deal with quickly. Added protection is given to personal representatives knowing that the procedure is carried out properly, as PRs will be personally liable for their own acts or omissions. A personal representative can delegate their responsibilities to a professional to ensure these are fulfilled and carried out correctly. Once taken on, a PR can never retire from the role. Solicitors’ applications are dealt with at the probate court and are prioritised over other applications. These benefits far outweigh the costs of the professional, and may save money if the estate is not administered properly by the PR.
How we can help
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The contents of this article are intended for general information purposes only and shall not be deemed to be or constitute legal advice. We cannot accept responsibility for any loss as a result of acts or omissions taken in respect of this article.