GRANT OF PROBATE SOLICITOR - DUTY OF EXECUTORS

 

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Executor’s Duties Under A Grant Of Probate

In order to fulfill their legal duties, the person named as executor in a will must first obtain a Grant of Probate from the Probate Registry, which is a division of the High Court of Justice. The Grant of Probate vests the executor with the authority to collect and account for the deceased’s assets. It also grants the executor the power to distribute the assets to the beneficiaries of the will, be it specific gifts or money from the liquidation of the estate’s assets. The executor’s role in probate is of paramount importance due to the amount of personal responsibility. For that reason, many executors opt to employ a solicitor to act on their behalf and carry out their duties.

Obtaining a Grant of Probate

The first step in obtaining a Grant of Probate is for the person named as executor in the will to make an initial valuation of the deceased’s assets. The proposed executor must also calculate the total amount of liabilities, including inheritance tax if applicable. Only after the valuation has been performed can the proposed executor submit an application for a Grant of Probate with the Probate Registry. Accompanying the application must be a sworn affidavit which outlines the assets and value of the estate. The application must also include the original will.

 

A copy of all the documents outlined above is also submitted to the Capital Taxes Office. The Capital Taxes Office considers the content of the documents. If the Office is satisfied, it will approve the issue of the Grant of Probate made by the Registry.

 

Once all of the requisite approvals have been obtained, the executor will then begin the work of managing the assets. The first step is to gather all of the deceased’s assets and use whatever amount is necessary to pay any liabilities. After all of the liabilities have been met, the executor will then distribute the assets of the estate according to the instructions in the will.

Requirements of a Valid Will

The person named as executor must prove that the will is valid in order to obtain a Grant of Probate. Under certain circumstances, a third party can challenge the will or the grant of probate in a court of law. Should the will not satisfy all of the following requirements outlined below, it can be contested by a potential beneficiary:

~ the person making the will must be age 18 years or older
~ the person making the will must not be under any undue influence
~ the person making the will must fully understand the meaning of the document and must be of sound mind
~ the document must be signed by two independent witnesses who observed the testator signing the will.
~ neither of the witnesses should be beneficiaries or they will forfeit the inheritances made to them in the will

Challenges to the Will

An executors solicitor may apply to the High Court of Justice to approve a copy of the will if the original is lost. The validity of the copy can be challenged by someone who was a beneficiary of an earlier will but not of the will being brought before the court. Dependants, such as a partner, minor or disabled person, are entitled to support after the death of the individual who had been previously supporting them. Should a person fail to make adequate provisions for the support of a dependant in their will, that dependant can take legal action in the High Court of Justice to obtain their share of the deceased’s estate.

Solicitors Legal Advice

For advice on fulfilling the duties of executor or for help with cases contesting the validity of a will just use the contact form or phone us on our helpline or email our offices. One of our solicitors will provide you with a consultation at no cost to you and with no further obligations. If the matter does proceed further our solicitors usually deal with cases using the risk free no win no fee scheme.

 

SOLICITORS HELPLINE 0345 515 0653