When someone dies, their assets and savings, if there are any, are distributed amongst their living relatives. In most cases, the deceased has left a Will that gives explicit instructions on who gets what and what is to go where. Solicitors and the Executor act upon these wishes to ensure that everything is in order. Unless the will is contested, this is, for the most part, a smooth transition and process. However, if the Will is left intestate, meaning the deceased person left no will, it is down to the Government to decide how the estate is divided.
Another phase of the distribution comes from something called probate. In some cases, probate will not be required. The need for probate comes from what the assets are. The main factor depends on the value of the asset. The other is related to whether the deceased wholly owned the asset or co-owned with someone else. Common examples of this are properties and businesses, but it can relate to vehicles, land, and valuable items such as Art.
The need for probate can depend on the amount that is to be distributed and the financial institution involved in its administration. If there isn’t a lot to be passed on, this is known as a small estate and is usually dealt with quickly. However, if large sums are involved, probate will likely be needed. Even then, this is not strictly true. Each financial institution has it’s own rules and policy regarding the enforcement of probate. Some require it on estates of five thousand pounds or more. Others do not see the need for probate until the estate is more than fifty thousand pounds. This situation is made complicated further if the financial institution deems the assets for an individual exceed a certain amount. Some think that if the estate as a whole exceeds fifteen thousand, then probate will be needed or if there is money held in an individuals account for this much regardless of the overall threshold. You can find out what the financial institutions’ threshold is and then seek advice accordingly. If a property is involved, then probate is very likely going to be necessary.
When the asset is jointly held with someone, then probate is very unlikely. If the other party is still alive, the ownership will automatically pass to them as part of the natural process. The most common example is that of property. If your partner dies, then the ownership will automatically pass to you. There is no requirement for probate. The only time it will be needed is if you were tenants in common. When this is the case, the deceased share will go to whoever is deemed the next of kin or is entitled to inherit or as a result of a Will’s expressed wishes.
If you don’t apply for probate, you and any beneficiaries won’t access the asset left to you. The first thing to do is make sure that the deceased person has a Will or make sure that one is created. This Will writing service Cheltenham based firm https://beesandco.com/our-services/will-writing/wills-cheltenham/ can help with that. It’s also a good idea to check with the financial institution what their probate levels are.