Probate is the method of dealing with the properties of someone who has died, which normally involves paying off their creditors and dividing their assets according to their own will. We clarify the probate process in our tutorial, and how to handle the estate of someone who has died.

Probate explained

Technically,’ probate’ refers to receiving permission to satisfy the desires within the will of someone, but the term often applies to the whole process of settling the estate of another. When you are responsible for administering someone’s will, there are clear guidelines that set out how to inform and allocate the estate to the authorities. You may need to apply for probate grant, or approval grant, in Scotland for permission to handle this operation. Separate laws occur when someone dies without a will, better known as dying intestate.

How does probate work?

The mediation procedure for someone’s affairs depends on whether you want to do it yourself or nominate a lawyer to work on your behalf. Appointing a specialist can be a smart move and may be necessary if you are dealing with a complicated estate. See the Probate Applicants Guide for more detail about how to make decisions. If you want to conduct the will yourself, you will have to submit the applications in question. You would then need to collect all the properties of the deceased person and allocate them to the beneficiaries. This will include notifying the person’s death to banks, building societies, related government agencies (such as the council and HMRC), settling any accounts that they hold, gathering their assets and liabilities, paying off any inheritance tax that might be due, and then distributing their properties. Helpfully, most government agencies can be alerted in one step via the’ Tell Us Once’ programme, including councils, the DVLA, the Passport Office, the Department of Employment and Pensions (when collecting welfare or state pensions), and HMRC. If the individual was collecting benefits from the Armed Forces Pension Program, Tell Us Once will also contact Veterans UK.