“Probate is always necessary”
A Grant of Probate is required in many situations, but not in all instances. In the case of some very simple Estates, it may not be needed at all.
A Grant of Probate may not be needed to administer an Estate if:
- All assets of the deceased were owned jointly with someone who is still living.
- No property is owned by the Estate.
- The amount of money in the Estate is reasonably small and all banks and other institutions involved have indicated that they are able to release funds without probate. In these circumstances, sometimes a financial institution will ask the executors to sign an indemnity before releasing monies.
However, in more complex Estates, a Grant of Probate will always be needed if, for example, there is solely owned property in the Estate or where the value of the Estate is more significant.
“Anyone can apply for probate”
Only certain people have the right to apply for probate. If there is a valid Will in place, the only people who can apply are those who are appointed as executors in a Will, unless the executor passes away after the testator.
If there is no Will, intestacy rules state that only the deceased’s closest relatives are entitled to apply for Letters of Administration on behalf of the Estate. If there are no such relatives, the residuary beneficiaries can apply for the Grant of Letters of Administration.
“All named executors in a Will must act in the probate process”
If an executor is named in a Will, they have the right to act in the administration of an Estate but are not obliged to take up their appointment. A named executor can either renounce their appointment, which involves formally stepping down permanently, or they may wish to have ‘power reserved’ which means that they will allow the other executors to obtain the Grant of Probate and will only step in if needed. This is common in cases where executors do not live nearby to sign documents or are too unwell to act.
“Probate is a quick process”
The amount of time it takes for the process of applying for probate and administering an Estate can vary. Even simple Estates can take many months to finalise. More complicated Estates involving disputes and challenges can take multiple years to conclude.
The Probate Registry is currently experiencing delays and it can be expected for a Grant of Probate to take several months to be issued.
If you have any queries regarding probate or require assistance with administering an Estate, please do get in touch with one of our Private Client specialists.