A quick guide to probate and how executors deal with estates

When someone dies it is essential to deal with their estate, which is made up of their home, savings and investments, belongings and anything else they may have owned.

This is not as easy as simply passing around what they owned as they wished, even if they left a will.

Our quick guide below outlines the process in England and Wales for dealing with the estate of someone who died leaving a will.

Probate is generally used as the term to describe dealing with someone’s estate. It involves finding out about all their assets and debts, valuing their estate and passing it on.

This is done by that person’s executors, who will be named in their will. They could be a trusted friend or member of family, or a nominated professional, such as a solicitor.

When writing a will it is important to remember that you do not need a professional to do probate, it is perfectly possible for the layman or woman to do it.

The crucial elements that decide how complex this task will be is whether you need a grant of representation and have to complete inheritance tax forms.

The legal term ‘grant of representation’ covers two types of document, one of which you will need depending on the circumstances.

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