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Seeking advice on Probate

21 replies 673 views
Hi,
My brother has recently passed away and I am dealing with his affairs on behalf of his wife/widow. They have no children. I spoke with Lloyds Bank yesterday to arrange for their joint savings and current accounts to be changed solely to his wife's name. The bank informed me that as the combined accounts amounted to approximately £300K,  which is in excess of the permitted limit ie. less than £200K,  the matter would have to go to probate. The bank's representative has sent me an email requesting copies of the death certificate and proof of his wife's ID. She also informed me that the bank or a solicitor would, for a fee, carry out the process of probate or that I could do it on my sister-in-law's behalf. I have read that the process can take anything between 6 months and 2 years. 
Is there any legal method that can be adopted to avoid the process of probate and if not, what would be quickest and cheapest way forward.
Thanks, 
hamer. 
Snootchie Bootchies!
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Replies

  • RASRAS Forumite
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    We had a hell of a job with probate and it took us 9 months.

    If everything is cash, then you should be able yo do it in weeks.

    Get a new basic bank account for the widow ASAP and transfer all payments in.


    The person who has not made a mistake, has made nothing
  • hamerhamer Forumite
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    Sorry to sound thick RAS but could you elaborate. Everything in the accounts is obviously cash however the house that they occupy is joint owned together with their belongings.
    Snootchie Bootchies!
  • BooJewelsBooJewels Forumite
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    I'm new to probate myself, just doing it for the first time - so hardly an expert.  I suspect what RAS means is that bank accounts and houses are perhaps the simplest form of property to deal with - it starts getting complicated if there are shares, investments, if he was a company director and the like. 

    Some people on here are reporting that they've had straightforward probate applications dealt with in days, so if it is simple enough, is shouldn't take years.  I would however suggest that unless it is complicated and really needs a legal brain on it, don't use a solicitor and certainly don't use the banks allotted one.  For the most part, you'll have to provide them with all the information anyway, just to have them pop them it a box on a form, by which time, you could have done it yourself for almost free (there is a fee to pay for the process).  

    Download the forms and have a look for yourself before you engage anyone who charges a fee for their work.
  • edited 28 July at 3:50PM
    RASRAS Forumite
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    edited 28 July at 3:50PM
    This assumes the deceased lived in England or Wales and assumes that your brother named yourself or his wife as executor, or that he was intestate.

    What type of joint ownership? If it's joint tenancy, then your sister in law is the sole tenant now and there is no inheritance tax to pay on the house. If you don't know, check the and registry.

    You need to go to www.gov.uk/applying-for-probate and download the forms. Fill in and return with the details of the accounts. Even with a complex situation it only took 6 weeks to get the paperwork together, and less to get the grant once the forms were submitted.
    We had additional difficulties which delayed everything 6 months but assuming one of you is the executor or he was intestate, you won't have that problem.
    The person who has not made a mistake, has made nothing
  • DoxDox Forumite
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    If the house was owned as joint tenants (rather than tenants in common), and all the bank accounts are joint, then normally all these assets would become the property of the widow. Are there some bank accounts which are not actually 'joint' ? If you are quite sure they were all joint accounts, or at least the majority of the cash is in joint accounts, I'd go back to the bank and query why probate is needed.
  • Keep_pedallingKeep_pedalling Forumite
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    Probate should be very straight forward, no need to involve a solicitor.
  • hamerhamer Forumite
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    Hi RAS,
    Residency is England and he and his wife are owner occupiers of their house so with what you said, I assume that there wouldn't be a need to pay inheritance tax on the house. Would that be the same for the joint funds in the bank?
    Regarding executor there isn't a will involved. As I previously explained, I am dealing with the different processes and my sister-in-law is authorizing/signing anything relevant. So, there isn't an executor as such.
    Snootchie Bootchies!
  • FlugelhornFlugelhorn Forumite
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    If everything was jointly owned then no IHT to pay - honestly if it is just the cash in the bank and no shares or anything like that then do it yourself. I managed to do this when mother died and as a rather dim doctor, am not used to anything legal or financial but it was really easy and took less than a month for the grant to arrive from start to finish - only time solicitor was involved was to swear the oath and they have even done away with that but now 
  • RASRAS Forumite
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    Thanks for the update. You do just need to check whether it's tenants in common or a joint tenancy.

    Tenants in common, each owns a portion of the property, 50:50 generally unless specified differently. Joint tenancy both own 100 jointly, and on the first death the remaining party becomes the sole tenant.

    It makes sense if your sister in law is the administrator of the estate as she is the inheritor (basically what the executor of an intestate estate is called).  She signs the forms even if you do the legwork.
    The person who has not made a mistake, has made nothing
  • hamerhamer Forumite
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    Dox,
    Thanks for that, I will go back to them and query it like you say.
    Snootchie Bootchies!
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