What is Probate?

What is Probate?

In Law we use a number of words and phrases that are not used in every day life. It is easy for us to become complacent about the use of these. At Town & Country Law we work hard to explain ourselves without all the legal jargon, but sometimes it is unavoidable. It is part of our commitment to Client Care that we build a relationship with our clients so if they do not understand something they always feel comfortable enough to ask us.

The most common question we are asked is ‘What is Probate?’.

Probate is the terms used to refer to legal process that happens when someone dies. The main purpose of Probate is to give a person or people the power to deal with a person’s money, property and all other assets. We call this their estate.

The people who will deal with this are called the Personal Representatives and they may be the executors named in a Will or the next of kin if there is no Will. The Personal Representatives will apply for a Grant of Probate (where there is a Will) or Letters of Administration (where there is no Will). This document will then give the Personal Representatives the power to deal with the Estate. For example, they will be able to do things such as:

  • Pay any outstanding debts from the estate
  • Sell assets in the estate
  • Pay utility bills
  • Sell a property
  • Give the named beneficiaries any gifts they are due from the estate.

Probate is not always needed. If the Estate is worth £5000 or less the Personal Representatives should be able to deal with the estate without a Grant of Probate or if all assets are jointly owned and passing to a surviving husband, wife or civil partner.