‘Probate’ is a term used for a legal document which is recognised by all financial institutions.When there is a will the executor(s) who have been named in the will have to apply for this document from the Probate Office (often referred as “Administering the Estate”).Once the executor(s) are granted the probate it gives them the right to administer the estates i.e. distribute the assets and carry out the wishes of the deceased as stated in his or her will. In practice, different terms are used, depending on whether or not the deceased person left a will and where they lived. This information covers probate in England and Wales.If the person who has died didn’t leave a willIf there is no will, a close relative of the deceased can apply to the probate registry to deal with the estate. In this case they apply for a ‘grant of letters of administration’. If the grant is given, they are known as ‘administrators’ of the estate. Like the grant of probate, the grant of letters of administration is a legal document which confirms the administrator’s authority to deal with the deceased person’s assets.In some cases, for example, where the person who benefits is a child, the law states that more than one person must act as the administrator.
When a grant is needed
A grant is almost always needed when the person who dies leaves one or more of the following:
• Stocks or shares.
• Certain insurance policies.
• Property or land held in their own name or as ‘tenants in common’.
Lasting Power of Attorney
The first is called Lasting Power of Attorney Property and Affairs – this allows the donor (person giving the power to allow the attorney (person receiving the power) to deal with all property and financial affairs including allowing the attorney to have access to the donors bank accounts and to make decisions about selling the house.The second is called Lasting Power of Attorney Health and Welfare – this allows the donor to allow the attorney to deal with all health and welfare issues including where he lives, what medical treatment to allow including any life sustaining treatment.The Lasting Power of Attorney is a legal document and has to be done while the donor is in a fit state of mind (compos mentis). Once the donor has lost capacity it is too late and therefore it is important to have this document in place while being in a sound mind.The attorney can only act on the donor’s behalf once the Lasting Power of Attorney has been registered with the Court of Protection and they must always act in the best interest of the person giving the power.If you appoint more than one attorney you must state whether they can act on their own or jointly.
You can also appoint substitute attorneys and place restrictions in your Lasting Power of Attorney so your attorney will be unable, for example, to sell your house.
Planning ahead for when you die allows you to set out clearly who should get what from your estate. It also means you can maximise Inheritance Tax reliefs and exemptions if your estate might be worth more than the Inheritance Tax threshold when you die (£325,000 in 2017-18).
With advance planning using trusts, exemptions and other tax efficient methods we can ensure your inheritance tax liability is either nil or greatly reduced.
One of the first things that is taken from a deceased estate is funeral costs
Executors should carry out the deceased funeral wishes although they are not obliged to do so.
It is worth considering a pre paid funeral plan – There are several reasons for having a pre paid funeral plan:
You are paying for your funeral at today’s price – whether the funeral is in ten or twenty year’s time you would not have to pay any extra.
For example, if you paid £2500 today for a funeral that same funeral in ten years time may be £8500 – a difference of £6000 – would you like that £6000 to go to the funeral director or to your family?
You decide in advance what kind of funeral you want, what music, flowers etc
You take the burden away from your family at a time when they are already emotionally upset.
It avoids unnecessary arguments among family.
Making a will is one thing – knowing where it is kept is another!!
Storing your will is as important as making the will.
Your will is stored in a secure, lockable and fire resistant safe.
Only you or your executors will have excess to the original will.
Prevents tampering of your will by family members who may realise they are not benefiting from your will.
Life storage with free updates is available for a nominal charge.
Services offered include mortgages, remortgages, secured loans, life insurance and building and contents insurance.
If you need investment or pension advice we can refer you to one of our agents.
Why not release equity from your house so you can enjoy your retirement without any financial worry.
You have worked hard all your life and NOW is the time to enjoy life to the full.
You do not make any monthly payments – what you borrow and the interest is taken from your estate once you pass away.