Strictly speaking the term “probate” refers to just one particular item in the process
of sorting out the financial affairs of someone who has died. However, in everyday
language it is often used to refer to the entire “estate administration” - that is,
the whole process of sorting out all the associated legal and financial matters.
Preparing a Will is one thing, putting it in to action is quite another. This is
the role of the Executor, and you may be asked to take on this role for one of your
own family members or for a friend. It is a significant role, with legal and financial
responsibilities lasting many years and with fines and financial liabilities if you
act inappropriately. But don’t let that put off - we can provide everything from
free advice through to even taking on the full responsibility if you wish.
Often an Executor has to obtain a Grant of Probate. Put simply, Probate is the process
of proving the validity of the Will and obtaining a Grant of Representation (official
confirmation) showing the authority of the Executor(s) to carry out the Will. For
a simple Will with a very simple estate Probate might not be needed, but for the
rest it can involve some complex forms covering legal and financial issues including
making submissions to the Tax authorities. Sometimes just one small asset (such a
handful of shares) can force you into obtaining probate.
Executors and the IHT Rules for Couples
Being an executor requires you to keep good records of what you have done. Maybe
you consider everything to be simple, because it is all going between spouses. However,
the new Inheritance Tax rules for married couples mean that when the 2nd members
of a couple dies the executors may have to go back and look at the records from the
1st estate. This is all part of the responsibility of being an executor, and is part
of the reason why many people like to pass the role to specialists in this area.
So, before you do anything as an Executor contact us for a free assessment of your