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How to deal with probate

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If you’re an executor of a will

If a close friend or family member asked you to be an executor of their will, to take care of their affairs when they die, you’d most likely agree. But once they’ve passed away, it’s not easy to know what comes next. What is a grant of probate, and why is it so important? There will be a lot of paperwork to do – but where can you get any extra information you need? And how do you go about finding the beneficiaries named in the will if you don’t know who they are?

Grant of probate gives you the power to deal with an estate

When someone dies, the executor or executors named in the will usually apply to the court for a grant of probate. This gives you the legal power to deal with the estate. You can show the grant to organisations such as banks and the land registry so that you can close the accounts of the person who has died and start disposing of their assets. What steps are involved will depend on the exact circumstances of the person whose estate you’re administering.

How we can help

Probate can be a long, complicated process. But our legal experts can give you advice every step of the way – from obtaining the grant of probate from the court, to having an estate valued and dealing with HMRC. We can also advise you on any unexpected difficulties – like tracking down a missing beneficiary, or what to do if there’s more than one will.

We’ll

  • help you understand the duties of an executor
  • talk you through the various forms you’ll need to fill in
  • advise you on any unexpected difficulties

All advice contained within this section relates to England and Wales only.

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Meet your experts
Ben Rosser Sq Ben Rossor Ben joined Which? in 2015, prior to this having worked in private practice. He now enjoys using his knowledge to aid members with their issues and queries on wills, probate and estate management.
ID Photo Sarah Henley Sarah specialises in supporting our members on Wills, the probate process, Powers of Attorney and estate administration. See profile
Paul Hanford Sq Paul Handford With over 20 years of varied legal experience, Paul now specialises in private client work, which includes drawing up wills and deeds of trust. See profile
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