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If a grant of probate is required, the next step is to value the estate.
If the total value of the deceased person’s estate is less than £15,000, or if all of their assets were owned jointly and are passing automatically to a surviving spouse or civil partner, probate may not be needed.
If you’re in any doubt about this, you should seek advice from HMRC and/or a probate solicitor.
It’s important to get this right, as it will determine whether or not inheritance tax (IHT) is due on the estate.
It’s worth asking an estate agent or property specialist to give you a written valuation for any property included in the estate, and asking a professional valuer to give you a price for items worth more than £500.
If that’s you, you’ll need to apply for a different grant, known as letters of administration.
Before applying for either type of grant, you’ll need to gather information about the estate and send it to the Probate Registry.The will and letters of administration are considered public documents, so they can be examined by anyone who requests to see them.As soon as you receive these documents, you can start acting as the administrator. Inheritance tax (IHT) will usually be due if the value of the estate exceeds the threshold (the nil rate band), which is currently £325,000, unless an exemption applies (eg assets passing to a spouse or to charity are exempt from IHT).If the deceased was the surviving spouse or civil partner of someone who died before them, the IHT threshold can sometimes be raised to include the spouse/partner’s unused allowance.If you’ve been named as executor in someone’s will, you’ll most likely have to apply for a grant of probate to be able to begin dealing with their estate.If there is no will, the task of dealing with the estate usually falls to the person’s closest relative, who becomes known as an administrator.The legal authorisation to take control of the estate of a loved one is sometimes referred to as ‘grant of representation’.This term can be used instead of both letters of administration and probate.To receive the letters of administration and become the administrator of an estate, a probate application form has to be sent to the Probate Registry.Only in the following circumstances will someone have to apply to become the administrator of an estate: In the event that the entire estate is left to one person, the letters of administration can be sent to the sole benefactor even if there is a valid will with named executors.