Probate is the term used for administering an estate after someone dies.
It's a legal process that generates a Certificate of Grant of Probate document. This document is then used to present to all the financial institutions of the deceased so that funds can be released and distributed in accordance with the Will.
Not all estates have to go through Probate and this depends on the overall value of the Estate. So, if someone dies with very little assets then it's unlikely that Probate would be required.
In order to apply for Probate there are a number of forms to be completed and a copy of the Will and Death Certificate are also required.
Upon Receipt of the Probate Certificate, the estate administrators, that is the Executors and Trustees can now approach each of the financial institutions for disbursement of funds.
If property is involved, you will need to produce the Certificate of Probate in order to sell the property.
Probate itself can be a simple process, but we can help you if...
If you have young children and would like to make provision for their guardianship, then you can do this in your Will.
Of course, we hope that your children won't need to be catered for and will be well over the age of maturity when you pass away but it's always good to make provisions just in case.
Firstly, if you are a married couple with children you have had together, then the remaining blood parent would automatically continue to care for the children.
The problems start when we look at couples, or a single parent, who has children but is not married, or living with the children's other parent.
If the parent dies, leaving the children with a partner, who is not their blood parent, then it could be that the natural parent may have a potential claim on the children as they are their blood relatives.
This might not be what the deceased wanted, as the children may have lived with the deceased and his partner for some time. Therefore in the Will you can specify who you want to care...
If you co-own a property with someone else you should already know the difference between owing it Jointly or Tenants in Common but just in case you don't let's clarify the situation.
If you own a property Jointly, think of it as you own it as if the two of you are one person. This means that both of you jointly own any equity in the property. This means that if one of you passes away the other automatically inherits the property entirely.
If, however, you own the property Tenants in Common, then you each own 50% of any equity in the property.
You may think what's the difference and why does it matter?
Let me explain. Imagine that one day in your later years, one of you dies, if owned jointly the remaining person would inherit the whole property. This may not be a good idea, because if they ever need care in the home, or elsewhere
the local authority would include the value of the property in their means testing calculations as there would now be one sole owner. This would almost...
OK, so now you have made your Will and that's a great start.
The next important thing to consider is where it is stored. Is it at home? With your Solicitor? With a relative?
Imagine what would happen if you died. Would your next of kin be able to locate your Will and if they did, would they be absolutely sure that it was the most current and up to date Will?
Did you know that if your Will was located but was not the most recent Will, it would be used to administer your estate?
It might be that your family were not aware that you had re-written your will and that the one they have in their possession might not actually reflect your wishes.
It's worth noting that the most recent Will which can be located is the one that will be used to obtain Probate.
This is why we advise all our clients to ensure that their Will is stored securely. Wills can be lost during house moves, destroyed in a house fire and if stored with a Solicitor that is no longer trading, can be difficult to track down....
If you are thinking about making a Will, one of the first things you will need to consider is whom you would like to act as your Executors.
Most people start off by selecting their partner or spouse, which is great, but if they are elderly or frail they might not be the best choice.
You should really begin by looking at the qualities of a good Executor and go from there.
Here is a list of the qualities you should look for:
1. Good administration skills
2. A good communicator by phone and letter
3. Someone who has the time to administer your estate
4. Someone who has your best interests in mind
5. Someone who knows you and your wishes
6. Perhaps someone who has been an Executor before
7. Someone you trust to execute your Will
8. A responsible person who is aware of the importance of this appointment
9. Someone with a working knowledge of the process is advantageous
10. Ideally someone who lives local to you
You can of course appoint multiple Executors who can work jointly together and this...
Imagine your loved one passing away without making a Will.
Where would you start to sort out their assets and possessions?
It could be a potential nightmare with siblings, children and wider relatives all trying to make a claim on his estate.
There could be bank accounts, investments, shares, property, savings accounts, pensions, not to mention life insurance policies etc.
Without a Will, the Law of Intestacy applies, and this clearly shows who is eligible to apply for the Letters of Administration and then who would also be legal beneficiaries based on the deceased's blood line.
If you are the unmarried partner of the deceased, then you certainly won't be the one who would legally be able to sort out his estate. You would also be excluded from inheriting any of his assets.
Of course, it could be the case that the next of kin might not have been the person he wanted to manage his estate and the law of natural succession showing the beneficiaries might not also be the people he...
Many people think that they don't need a Will simply because they are not homeowners. This is a myth.
In reality everyone needs to make a Will regardless of whether or not they own property.
People also tell us that they are far too young to make a Will. So what would happen if you die earlier than expected and leave children with no parent ?
Your Will can be an ideal way of detailing your preferences regarding guardianship for your children.
In your Will you can specify what funeral arrangements you would like. You can outline burial or cremation arrangements in as much detail as you like.
You can also use your will to give details of where your most precious items should go to. They don't have to be valuable, you can leave all sorts of items to loved ones and friends.
In your Will you can also insert exclusions for anyone who might have a claim on your estate that you prefer not to inherit. This can apply to estranged partners, lost relatives and ex spouses.
Your Will can also be...
Making a Legacy
Did you know that around one third of money received by charities is given in the form of gifts and legacies in people's Wills?
Without this form of income many charities cannot continue their activities and support and have to rely solely on fundraising or donations. Large or small, each gift is always well received.
Many people don't even think about giving to charity in their Will as they are often unaware that this can be done.
You can specify a lump sum or a percentage of your estate whichever you prefer.
You may have a particular charity in mind or even more than one. Every gift you leave will be well used to continue the work your charity is engaged in. It could be that you are already supporting a local charity and want to ensure their good work continues. If you are an animal lover, there are plenty of animal charities to choose from. Perhaps you or a loved one has received care from a...
This is a really tricky topic.
At some point in our lives we will most likely all have a loved one who is either facing early onset dementia or may be feeling that have reached an age whereby they just can't manage their own affairs any longer. This could be due to ill health, mental health issues or an injury or disability.
Take a look at the following video which outlines the reasons why you might need a Lasting Power of Attorney.
We found this really useful and it explains everything in the most simple terms.
With the increase in early onset dementia cases, making a Lasting Power of Attorney whilst the person still has mental capacity to sign over the authority is essential. Once mental capacity has been lost then the Court of Protection has to be involved which is an extremely lengthy and costly affair.
We hope you have found this broadcast useful, and should you have any questions or would like further information then...
Well here we are. It's taken a little while but we are extremely happy to launch our fabulous new website.
Obviously, this is a work in progress as things are constantly changing and we will, of course, be adding new things and making changes as and when they occur.
Aside from the new website, we have lots of lovely new things for you in the pipeline.
Watch this space as we will be posting more news very soon.