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How to avoid probate

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How to avoid probate
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When loved ones pass away, their assets are audited, divided, and forwarded to their relatives. Any inheritance tax, if applicable, is paid at this stage by the beneficiaries to gain ownership.

This process is called probate, which doesn’t always occur depending on the assets in question. If you find yourself in this position, it’s essential to understand whether probate applies to you. As such, you need to consult a probate expert to understand precisely the best way forward.

Here we’ll delve into what processes are involved when presented with potentially having to go through a probate process.

Avoiding Probate

Probate is a very involved process that, in certain circumstances, can be avoided. For instance, if assets are jointly owned, the surviving partner will inherit everything without probate.

This situation can be the case in both personal and commercial circumstances. Therefore, if you can prove some form of partnership, you may avoid the time-consuming probate process. 

Small estates, including properties or assets, typically don’t need to go through the probate process. Financial institutions will have a minimum value, where they will not require a grant of probate document before releasing assets. This value can range from £5,000 to £50,000.

Larger estates will need you to go through the probate process. It’s no secret that this process is arduous and fraught with the possibility of you paying excessive inheritance tax.

To reduce this risk, you need to contact a probate expert. Not only do they help walk you through this process, but they reduce the pain you experience during an inconvenient time.   

Deciding if Using a Probate Expert is Right for You

If confident you can tackle all of the administrative processes during probate, you may decide to go it alone. However, this is strongly discouraged if the estate doesn’t appear straightforward.

Here, there’s a potential to quickly lose significant portions of your inheritance if you’re not experienced with probate. The last thing you want if you’re in a trying time is to be robbed in broad daylight.

We suggest that you first get quotes from a handful of probate specialists before selecting one. We advise this because costs can vary considerably like any other service.

You’ll need to check and ensure you know exactly what’s provided in each of their offerings. If you need to find a probate specialist, they can be seen from a probate brokerage. As they are listed in one location, they typically provide you with the most competitive services.

In general, businesses providing probate specialists come in three different forms.

The first is a fixed fee probate specialist. These provide you with a quote before the commencement of any work. These can be useful for knowing what the outgoing is for net asset evaluation after the process. Some use this to help sell assets quickly to meet a minimum required value.

The second type of probate specialist is a solicitor who charges fixed time increments. These charges can be per hour or specified subdivisions of an hour. You’ll likely pay more for these specialists, but they’re more useful for complex estates.

For instance, when other family members or partners dispute a claim. Properties may themselves be difficult and have liens or disputed access rights. Having a solicitor conducting the probate process means you don’t need to pay other parties unnecessarily. It can also mean you don’t need to waste time consulting others.

Finally, some banks also provide this service due to the prevalent and inescapable transfer of assets. Typically, these are more expensive than a solicitor, so be careful when hunting for the right probate specialist.

Tackling Probate Yourself

If you are thinking about conducting your probate, then check out the following steps that you’ll need to consider:

  • Register the death. In some cases, this is completed automatically through a medical practitioner. If not, they will provide you with a death certificate, and you will need to give a copy to the authorities.
  • Once the death has been registered, you need to apply for probate. The application process costs £215 for estates worth more than £5,000. If there’s a will, you’ll know who the executors are from this. They will provide you with a grant of probate document. If no will is present, then you’ll get a grant for letters of administration.
  • You’ll need to complete an inheritance tax (IHT) form at the same time as when you apply for probate. This action is irrespective of the value of the estate. The estate’s valuation is an estimate after taking into account accrued debt.
  • You’ll also need to notify any organization that the person was partnered with or had dealings with the death. This includes businesses, banks, lenders, governmental bodies, and utilities. If the deceased doesn’t have a list of governmental bodies they dealt with, then use Tell Us Once. This facility propagates the news to all relevant municipal parties will little effort. Finally, you can use the Death Notification Service, which works similarly for financial institutions.
  • At this point, it’s wise to check for any life insurance policies that you can claim against. If you don’t know of one, this can take some time. Also, some contracts require such policies to be issued before a partnership is established if a business is involved. So, it’s worth checking commercial insurers too.
  • If you are assuming the role of executor or administrator, you’ll need to now pay off any outstanding debts on the estate. This step will also include an inheritance tax at this point. You’ll likely need to consider what happens to the estate at this stage in the process, as you may not have the money to pay the debts associated with the estate. You have a few options from remortgaging a property, selling assets, or generating funds from elsewhere. If you are the sole beneficiary, this is relatively simple. However, if multiple parties are involved, this process can become challenging at best. Agreements may need to be drawn up, signed, and notarized according to needs not catered for in a will, and it could end in legal challenges if not handled carefully.
  • Once assets have been audited and relevant sell-offs have taken place, you can now distribute funds and assets.

The time for the grant of the probate process to be completed is usually between four to eight weeks. However, after this, the process can become far longer. If there are disputes or complexities to asset reallocation, this can even take years! 

Helping You

Our business has many years of expertise with complex estate inheritance. If you need help, we can provide this to undertake your burden. We conduct as much of the process without the need to imposition you during the grieving process, which includes taking care of all instruction and payments to solicitors.

We can also buy your property in cash to relieve you from finding buyers or paying commission fees. There are no buying chain issues or need for buyers to get bridging loans to finalize the purchase and moving process.

We provide you with a fixed completion date and exactly when you will transfer funds to your account. No guesswork and peace of mind that everything has been taken care of.   

If you would like to work with us, don’t hesitate to contact us. You are under no obligation, and if you decide to use our skilled professionals, we’ll take care of the rest.

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