5 Probate Myths Busted!

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    Dealing with a loss can be a stressful time. Following the death of a loved one, you may need to apply for probate. A grant of probate document is published by the probate registry, and gives executors legal authority to administer the estate of the deceased. There are many common misconceptions about the probate process. Here are some popular myths busted!

    Myth #1: Probate fees vary according to the size of the deceased’s estate.

    Truth: In the past, legal professionals were required to pay £155 when applying for probate, while personal applicants were charged £215. However, from 26th January 2022, a flat rate of £273 will be introduced, where an estate is valued at more than £5000. The government has decided to bring the two previous fees in line with each other and raise the overall amount. This is because the probate service is currently operating at a loss, so the increased fee allows the service to cover its costs.

    Myth #2: You can apply at your local probate registry.

    Truth: Local registries have closed. There is now an online application system at https://www.gov.uk/applying-for-probate/apply-for-probate. You can also apply by post.

    Myth #3: Once you’ve submitted your application, you will receive a grant of probate in 4-8 weeks.

    Truth: Due to the Covid pandemic, there are delays to applications being processed. This has been further impacted by Government restructuring. Their website warns, “Probate applications are taking longer than usual to process.” Recently, it has become more difficult to obtain death certificates, accurate valuations, signatures and money from banks.

    Myth #4: You only need one death certificate.

    Truth: You will need to obtain several original death certificates at £11 each. There is an increased demand by various parties for the original death certificate and copy of the will.
    You can request that the registrar fills in a form for the Government’s “Tell Us Once” Service, so that you can inform all departments of the death in one call or email.

    Myth #5: You need to complete form IHT205 or IHT217 to report the value of the estate to HMRC.

    Truth: You no longer need to complete these forms if you are an administrator for a person domiciled in the UK with an excepted estate, who dies on or after 1st January 2022. An excepted estate is that which is valued below the current inheritance tax threshold. You will be required to estimate the value of the estate as part of your probate application, but you will not be expected to report it to HMRC.

    So, there we have it – 5 probate myths busted, to help you navigate the process more smoothly!

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