When somebody dies the Executors will usually need to apply for a Grant of Probate, before the wishes of the deceased can be carried out in accordance with the Will.
Probate is a legal process whereby a Will is proved in a Court and accepted as a valid public document that is the true last Will and testament of the deceased. A probate court decides the legal validity of a deceased person’s Will and grants its approval to the Executors who are then identified and given the legal right to deal with the Estate. The Estate may be made up of property, investments, money, possessions, etc.
If the person died without a Will then the next of kin can apply. You cannot apply if you are the partner of the deceased but were not legally married to them or in a civil partnership with them.
There is no maximum time limit Executors have to obtain the Grant of Probate however if Executors take no action then it is possible for a citation to be obtained which compels the Executors to provide reasons for no action being taken. A citation can be obtained from six months following the death.
A minor cannot obtain the Grant of Probate until they have reached 18 years of age. If there is a valid Will but no Executors that are able or willing to act, then a different type of grant must be obtained (Letters of administration with the Will annexed) and there is a statutory order which dictates who can apply.
The task of dealing with the administration of an Estate can seem too much for some, especially when grieving, and your Executors can, and in most cases would, appoint professionals at the expense of the Estate to deal with its administration.
At Good Wills we offer advice and assistance. Your Executors can decide how much of the work they would like to do themselves. They may just want us to assist them in completing the tax forms.
If your Executors would like a Solicitor to deal with the Estate on their behalf, our sister company Good Wills Law Limited can assist with this.