Why do I need probate if I have a Will
Hannah Pearson, Private Client Solicitor at Pearson Solicitors and Financial Advisers explains why it is necessary to apply for a Grant of Probate where the person who has passed away has left a Will.
What is a Grant of Probate
A Grant of Probate confirms who has the legal authority to administer an estate. For example, when closing an account for a person who has died, a bank or other financial institution can rely on a Grant of Probate and they know that they are then paying the funds to the correct person.
Whether a Grant of Probate is needed or not will depend on what assets were held, and whether they were held in the deceased’s sole name or in joint names.
Most joint bank accounts will pass automatically to the surviving owner, so probate will not be needed to transfer them to the survivor’s sole name.
When a house is held jointly, it will depend on how it is owned as to whether it passes to the surviving owner automatically or not. If it is held as joint tenants (both own the property equally) it will pass to the survivor without the need for a Grant of Probate. However, where it is held as tenants in common (the property can be owned in unequal proportions) the deceased’s share passes under the terms of his/her will and so probate is likely to be required in these circumstances.
Where someone owns a house in their sole name then a Grant of Probate will definitely be needed to be able to sell/transfer the house.
For bank accounts and other investments, it usually depends on the value of the assets held as to whether a Grant of Probate is required. It is difficult to give an exact figure as each bank has its own procedure and financial limit. Most banks will allow accounts with less than £5000 to be closed without needing a Grant of Probate, but some banks have much higher thresholds between £15,000 and £50,000 before they insist on a Grant of Probate to close an account.
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Please note that the information and opinions contained in this article are not intended to be comprehensive, nor to provide legal advice. No responsibility for its accuracy or correctness is assumed by Pearson Solicitors and Financial Advisers Ltd or any of its members or employees. Professional legal advice should be obtained before taking, or refraining from taking, any action as a result of this article.
This blog was posted some time ago and its contents may now be out of date. For the latest legal position relating to these issues, get in touch with the author - or make an enquiry now.