This name is technically misleading. A more useful definition is estate administration.
Probate is technically: "The process of legally establishing the validity of a Will before a judicial authority"
So, probate is only a small part of the whole process of estate administration.
It is the responsibility of the Executors appointed in a Will to administer the Estate, but there is more to the role than many people realise. Executors duties include:
- The moment the Testator dies, the role of the Executor(s) begins and there are some very important initial duties
- Securing the assets. They are now legally responsible for the assets of the Testator and may need to secure the property and belongings e.g. change the locks on the property, switch off utilities etc
- Insure the assets .They must ensure that the house and contents are insured.
- Arrange the funeral, which is an Executor duty, but normally involves the family
- Assess the death estate assets & liabilities
- Calculate whether there is an Inheritance Tax Liability, complete the relative forms, agree with HMRC and arrange to pay HMRC.
- Arrange for the Grant of Probate, which gives legal authority to the executors to deal with the Estate
- Call in assets
- Pay debts and liabilities
- Complete Estate Accounts
- Distribute the estate according to the Will
Sadly many family members are appointed as executors in Wills and have no idea of the responsibility and often do not know they have been appointed in the Will until the Testator dies.
The great news is that Executors who do not feel able to complete the role can appoint Assured Probate Services to deal with the estate administration taking away the burden when many are grieving.