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The Probate Procedure

To enable executors to deal with the assets of a deceased’s person’s estate (whose assets are in England and/or Wales) in the majority of cases, they must apply for a Grant of Probate. This is a certificate which confirms that the Will is valid and the identity of the executor. Administering an estate will include paying the estate’s liabilities and then distributing the remaining monies in accordance with the terms of the deceased’s Will.

In the event that the deceased died without a Will, a very similar procedure needs to be followed. However, the certificate obtained is called Letters of Administration rather than a Grant of Probate and it is usually applied for by the deceased’s next of kin.

When Letters of Administration have been obtained, it is determined by law how the net estate should be distributed. Family members and relatives receive the money in a ranked order of priority.

It is common for our clients to obtain advice as to how to make the application for the Grant of Probate or Letters of Administration and then to make the application themselves. We are happy to act in this limited capacity. However, we cannot stress enough that the task of administering an estate can be complex. If you act as executor, then you are directly accountable to the beneficiaries for your actions.  Legal advice taken early can mean you avoid mistakes and escape personal liability.