Jayne Hill an experienced Wills and Probate Solicitor based at our Kidderminster office answers some frequently asked questions about how to deal with your loved one’s affairs if they have passed away.
Can I apply for Probate during lockdown?
Our solicitors are all working from home and are able to speak with you by telephone and correspond with you by email to offer advice and take your instructions. We recommend that you contact us as soon as possible after your loved one has died so we can advise you if Probate is needed.
If you need Probate we can help you to obtain all of the relevant information regarding your loved ones’ estate, prepare the appropriate inheritance tax forms and complete the application for Probate for you to approve and sign. If you need to pay inheritance tax, we can offer you advice on your options, arrange to pay it from your loved ones assets and liaise with HM Revenue & Customs on your behalf. This will enable the application for Probate to be processed.
What information will I need to apply for Probate?
You will need a death certificate. Although register offices are closed they are offering telephone appointments for you to register a death. The death certificate will be sent by post. The cost is £11.00 per certificate and we recommend you get more than one, although if you instruct us to assist we can make copies that will be accepted by financial institutions.
You will need information about your loved ones assets such as property, bank accounts, building society accounts, investments, insurance policies and personal belongings. You will also need details about any monies that they owe such as outstanding utility bills, mortgages or loans. We can help you to obtain relevant information as although many financial institutions have closed their offices to the public they are still available on the telephone and will respond to correspondence and provide valuations for accounts at the date of death. Estate agents offices are also closed but many are still available to offer valuations of property remotely.
Can assets be sold or transferred once Probate has been obtained?
Most assets in the estate can be dealt with by post by providing a copy of the Probate and instructions from the executors to close the accounts or transfer an asset to a beneficiary. However, if there is a property to sell this may be delayed as current government advice is that no one should move house during lockdown. However it would still be possible to instruct agents and get preliminary work done so that the property could be marketed fully when the lockdown eases.