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Sharon Rye

Probate Manager - East Sussex (Uckfield)

2nd January 2024

Do I need Probate?

If you have recently lost a loved one, you may be wondering if you need probate to deal with their estate. Probate gives you the legal right to deal with their property, money and possessions (their ‘estate’) when they die. It can be a complex and time-consuming process and so it is important to know when it is required and how to apply for it.

When is Probate required?

You don’t always need probate when someone dies. It depends on the type and value of the assets they left behind.

If there is a Will, the Executors named in it can apply for probate. Probate gives them the authority to carry out the wishes in the Will and distribute the estate to the beneficiaries. If they did not have a Will, they are said to have died intestate and a living relative can apply for Letters of Administration, which is similar to probate but follows different rules which are based on who will inherit under the intestacy rules. The person who applies for the Letters of Administration is called the Administrator and has the responsibility to distribute the estate according to the intestacy rules.

To find out if probate is needed, you should contact the financial organisations that the person who died used (for example, their bank, building society, mortgage company, pension provider etc.)  Every organisation has its own threshold for requiring probate.

Do I need professional help?

Applying for probate can be a daunting task, especially if you are grieving or dealing with a large or complicated estate. Getting help from a professional who can take care of the legal paperwork, deal with any tax issues, communicate with the beneficiaries and handle any disputes that may arise will lift the burden of handling the probate process from you.

Rix & Kay’s specialist probate team has many years of experience in dealing with the administration of estates. For more information about how we can help contact Sharon Rye, Probate Manager, on t. 01825 744418 or via e. sharonrye@rixandkay.co.uk