Is Probate required?
If the deceased leaves a property or assets worth £15,000 or more in their sole name, it is usually necessary for the estate to go through probate.
You will need to obtain a Grant of Probate if a Will is in place.
You will need to obtain a Letter of Administration also called a Grant of Representation if the deceased did not have a Will.
What are considered as assets of £15,000 or more?
- Stocks and shares
- Certain insurance policies
- Land held in their own name or as ‘tenants in common’
If the deceased’s estate is worth less than £15,000 a Grant of Probate or a Grant of Representation may not be required.
If the deceased owned anything jointly with someone else, as a joint tenant on a property for example or as a signatory on a joint bank account, then everything relating to that joint relationship passes automatically to the surviving joint owner and is not considered part of the deceased’s estate.
Similarly, anything held in a Trust or being directed to a Trust within a Will is not considered part of the deceased’s estate and as such will not be required to go through the Probate process however it may still be taken into account for inheritance tax purposes and the appropriate process adhered to.
Estates worth less than £15,000
If the estate is worth less than £15,000 you still may need to go through probate if:
- The bank or building society still insists on seeing a Grant of Probate.
- Insurance policies are involved which need to be paid to the estate rather than direct to a beneficiary.
- The person has given away any substantial assets in the last seven years - in which case, Inheritance Tax may be due.