PROBATING AN ESTATE
UK Law states that a Will must be filed with the Court within 30 days following a person’s death. An Attorney commences Probate proceedings by filing Court papers in which he asks the Court to appoint an Executor (or Administrator) to manage the Probate Estate in the Court Probate process. People often wonder how to get and what probate is in the UK. My office handles Probate proceedings throughout the State of UK. I can file Probate Petitions in any County Court in the State of UK. Typically the Court proceeding is initiated in the County where the Decedent was a resident at the time of death, or in a County where the Decedent owned Real Estate.
The UK Probate Code provides for Attorneys fees and the fees of the Executor/Administrator of the Estate, the amount of which is based upon the value of the Estate assets. However these fees are not paid until the Probate proceedings are closed, are paid out of the Estate assets, and these fees must be approved by the Court prior to being received.
The length of Probate proceedings range from a minimum of approximately 8 months to a maximum of several years. Most Probate proceedings can be closed out within the 8-10 month time frame if there are no legal disputes among the persons inheriting from the Estate or with Creditors of the Decedent concerning the amount of money the Creditor is entitled to be paid.
The purpose of Probate proceedings is for the Court to make sure that all Creditors of the Decedent are paid what is owed them prior to the Heirs of the Estate receiving their inheritance, and ensuring that the proper Heirs do in fact receive their inheritance.
At the time of filing the initial papers in the Probate proceeding, the Attorney arranges to have notice of the death of Decedent published in a local newspaper where the Decedent died, as required by law. The purpose of this is to attempt to notify any Creditors of the Decedents death so the Creditors can file a Claim with the Probate Estate in order to get paid. All known Creditors of the Decedent must be personally notified by the Executor of the Estate. Creditors generally have four months after authorisation has been given to the Executor to perform his/her duties (Letters Testamentary) in which to file a Claim against the Estate. If a Creditor does not file a Claim within the four month period, he loses his rights forever to receive payment (there are some exceptions).
If there is Real Estate in the Estate the property may or may not have to be sold depending upon the provisions of the Decedents Will or the desires of the Heirs to this property. There must however be enough cash or liquid assets in the Estate to pay for the various expenses of the Estate, including the Attorneys and Executors compensation which must be paid at the very end of the Probate proceedings. If the Executor of the Estate is a relative and wishes to waive any right to receive compensation, this is permissible.
If Title to Real Estate and other assets such as Securities or Bank accounts (in excess of £100,000) are in the name of the Decedent only at the time of death, the only possible way for the Heirs to receive Title to these assets is through the UK Probate solicitors process.
The duties of the Executor/Administrator are many. He must take possession of all the Estate property so far as practicable, collect all dividends, interest and other income, keep a detailed account of all receipts and disbursements for the Estate, pay all expenses of the Estate, file all tax returns (which may include individual tax returns, Probate income tax returns, and Federal Estate Tax return) and pay all taxes, and keep the Estate property adequately insured. Other duties may include selling or borrowing against Estate property, settling disputed Claims of Creditors, and managing and preserving the Estate property. All Estate funds will be placed in a special Probate Estate Bank account in which the Executor will have access. Careful record keeping by the Executor is essential, because before the Probate proceedings may be closed, the Executor will have to report to the Court and account for all monies and assets that he has received, all expenses that were paid, and what net property on hand remains at the closing of the Probate Estate.
OTHER PROBATE MATTERS.
Besides Administering the Estate of Decedent, the UK Probate Code has jurisdiction over many other matters. These typically include the following:
(1.) Setting up a Conservatorship proceedings for a person who by reason of advanced age, accident, or illness is unable to care for himself or his assets;
(2.) Guardianship proceedings to care for a minor child if the minor child’s parents are unable to care for the child;
(3.) Contesting a Will upon the death of a person.
A Probate Lawyer will provide a free telephone consultation to any interested person concerning commencing Probate proceedings upon death in any UK county. Thank you for reviewing this webpage.