What does Probate mean?

Probate is the legal term given to the process of getting permission to deal with a person’s Estate after they have passed away. 


This means getting permission to carry out a person’s wishes in line with their Will and any inheritance planning they may have done, making sure that their funeral arrangements are taken care of in line with any funeral plans they might have in place.


Probate can be a long and complicated process, and there are lots of rules that must be followed around how a person’s money, belongings and property are declared, handled and distributed, and even on how the authorities are notified that the person has died. 


This might also mean settling debts on behalf of the deceased person, making sure that banks, utility companies and HMRC are updated, as well as cancelling things like passports, driving licenses or pensions. Depending on the size of the Estate, there may also be inheritance tax to pay or other administration costs.


Many people will appoint someone to handle Probate in their Wills, and this person is called the ‘Executor.’


The process of applying for Probate is different depending on if there is a Will in place or not. If a person dies without a Will in place, then the law will decide on who inherits their Estate according to very strict criteria known as the ‘rules of intestacy.’


While anyone can be appointed to handle Probate on behalf of a deceased person, many people prefer to hire a specialist to look after this process. It is always a good idea to bring in a professional if the Estate in question is large or complicated.

Capital Life’s team of solicitors are experts at dealing with Probate. Book a free review now to find out how they can help.