When someone close to you has passed away, the first step most people take is to register the death and arrange the funeral - but this is really only the beginning. To enable you to have the legal right to deal with the deceased person’s assets (such as their property, money, and possessions - most commonly referred to as their ‘estate’) you may need a Grant of Representation.
This process (dealing with the deceased’s estate) is called ‘Probate’. You can apply for Probate yourself, or use a solicitor. I would always recommend seeking the advice of a solicitor who will advise whether your case is suitable for a personal application. Obtaining a Grant of Representation requires the completion of detailed documentation relating to the deceased’s assets and tax liabilities, and an Oath to be drawn up and sworn. There are implications of not doing this correctly.
Dealing with a loved one’s estate can be onerous; especially when you are still grieving for them. For example, would you really feel like making seemingly endless long telephone calls to Banks and Investment companies and sending out dozens of numerous letters? When using a solicitor, this is all done for you; we make the telephone calls and we write the letters. It is also extremely important to ensure the valuation of the estate is accurate, as if the value exceeds the current Inheritance Tax threshold (currently £325,000 for an individual) tax will be due on the amount which exceeds the threshold at a rate of 40%.
Once all the paperwork has been completed, an Oath needs to be sworn. The Oath paper can be prepared by a solicitor and undertaken at a solicitor’s office. Swearing an Oath is not simply a promise made by the individual applying for the Grant of Representation; it is actually perjury if the Oath is sworn and is proven to be untrue. The promise is to confirm that the information supplied on the application is true to the best of your knowledge – so you’ll want to be really sure you haven’t made any mistakes if you have completed the application personally.
Once that is all finalised, and assuming it all goes through without a problem, next comes actually dealing with the estate…
Until next time,