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When applying for the right to deal with a deceased person’s affairs (administering the estate), you need to establish Probate. If the person who has died left a Will, they may have specified who should carry out the probate process. These people are expected to “execute” the Will, which means they will share out the estate as specified and deal with any related complications, as well as carry out any other final wishes specified in the Will. However, you are not legally required to act as executor, even if you are the only executor named in the Will. If there is no executor named, or there is no Will, someone must become the administrator of the estate – this will be someone who would benefit from the Will, or a blood relative if no Will exists. The administrator largely performs the same tasks that an executor would, although they often have no Will to act upon.

How long does probate take?

This all depends on how complex the estate is – if there are multiple different assets, such as multiple properties, shares, and accounts, it is likely to take longer. It will also depend on how much time you and the other representatives can dedicate. On average, probate takes between six to nine months to complete and can take up to eighty working hours. However, other complications can cause the process to take considerably longer, such as if the Will is contested, or the testator (the person whose estate is the subject of the Will) did not keep clear records of all their assets. It is not unheard of for the process to take several years to be finalised.

If your estate is over five thousand pounds, before it can be distributed a Grant of Probate must be obtained. This means the Will must be formally recognised at the local Probate Registry. All Banks, Building Societies and Insurance Companies will insist on seeing a Grant of Probate Cambridgeshire before they pay out and your house will not be able to be sold. If your estate is worth more than £325,000 it may be liable to Inheritance Tax and you would be wise to enlist the help of a professional. If you are acting as an Executor in a Will then you are personally liable for any debts, so professional advice is essential.

We can provide you with clear, practical advice on what the next steps following the death of a loved one, whether you are an executor of a will, a close family relative or a friend, we have a sympathetic ear when you need it most. We can help you identify what needs to be done and to help you plan for your own future after a loved one has passed away. We work with a professional team of solicitors who offer a first class Probate service. To find out more please call us on one of the above numbers and we will be happy to help.