Probate versus Estate Administration? What’s the difference?
The terms Probate and Estate Administration are both associated with the handling of an individual’s estate after their death. In our experience they are often misunderstood so we hope this short blog will help to clarify the definition of each.
Probate actually refers to the ‘Grant of Probate’ – something required by law when the deceased owns property or land, or when a bank or other financial institution requires a ‘Grant of Probate’ to release funds.
There is no set threshold of when a Grant of Probate would be required but the general rule is often if the total estate value is under £5000, or in a situation where the assets were held jointly and will pass to a surviving spouse or partner and therefore no Grant needed.
Often people think that if the deceased left a Will a Grant of Probate is not needed however that is not the case.
Having a Will makes it much easier for named executors to obtain a Grant and start to deal with the administration of the estate more quickly.
The ‘Grant of Probate’ is sometimes referred to as the ‘Grant of Representation’ or ‘Letters of Administration’ depending on the particular circumstances.
This is the process of dealing with a deceased person’s legal and tax affairs and would include everything from assets / property, belongings, debts, bank accounts, pensions and Inheritance Tax.
Estate Administration can often be complex and lengthy depending on the individual’s estate and their wishes as left in their Will (if one exists).
The process can include: completing all Inheritance Tax forms; applying for Probate; valuing assets; dealing with income tax / HMRC; dealing with the redirection of post and cancelling utilities.
Naturally, there are many other factors to be considered before undertaking Probate or Estate Administration. Some executor’s or administrator’s consider DIY Probate to save on potential costs but we would recommend that before any action is taken, the individual seeks professional advice in order that they fully understand exactly what work will be required and what the likely timescales and costs will be depending on the specific estate.
Should you be facing the prospect of having to deal with the estate of a deceased individual, we recognise that it will likely be a challenging time both emotionally and physically. We are always happy to provide impartial advice on the best way forward in your situation.
For more information or a no-obligation discussion, please contact Sophie who leads our Wills and Probate department. Call 01952 726111 or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org
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