The first thing you will need to do is to locate the person’s last valid will. This may be kept at home, at a solicitor’s office, a bank or at the Probate Registry. You will need to find the original Will, since the Probate Registry (Court) will not usually accept a copy.
Having seen the original will and established that you are appointed as an executor, it will usually be necessary to apply for a Grant of Probate from the local Probate Registry. This is the formal process of identifying yourself as an executor and obtaining the court’s permission to deal with the estate of the person who has died.
One of the first things you will need to do is to calculate the value of the estate and report that value to HM Revenue and Customs. Depending on the value of the estate, you may need to pay Inheritance Tax. You will then need to send the original will, together with the original death certificate and a statement of truth or sworn oath, to the local Probate Registry.
If the estate is one that requires a Grant of Probate (and most estates do), there is very little you will be allowed to do until the Grant has been obtained. The main exception to this is that no Grant is required to arrange the funeral, so this can be done straight away.
Applying for Probate can be a complicated legal process and there are lots of things that can go wrong. If you are in any doubt, contact your solicitor for help.
For further information, please contact a member of the Price Slater Gawne team on 0161 615 5554, by email to firstname.lastname@example.org or by visiting our Altrincham office.