Is Probate Necessary?

Pete Liggins
February 21, 2023
It is important to note that while there are methods to circumvent the probate process, such as those mentioned above, the loopholes are few and may carry severe consequences if not navigated with care. For this reason, it is recommended that you seek professional advice from a solicitor before making any decisions.

The probate process can prove to be a protracted and cumbersome affair, with delays that last for six to eight months being regarded as standard protocol. While the procedure may be unavoidable in most cases, there are certain circumstances that may exempt it.

For instance, if all of the assets and bank accounts were jointly owned between the deceased and their surviving spouse or civil partner, probate can be bypassed with ease. Similarly, if the estate's worth is low, and the deceased held less than £5,000, some banks may release funds without requiring a grant of probate, although their individual policies may vary.

The release of funds from the deceased's bank account can vary substantially based on the specific institution, with some financial institutions granting access to as little as £5,000, while others may allow the release of funds up to £20,000 or even £50,000. As a result, the determination of whether a grant of probate is required to access the bank accounts of the deceased will hinge on the bank in question and its individual policies.

It is important to note that while there are methods to circumvent the probate process, such as those mentioned above, the loopholes are few and may carry severe consequences if not navigated with care. For this reason, it is recommended that you seek professional advice from a solicitor before making any crucial decisions, as failing to apply for a grant of probate when one is necessary can lead to significant penalties.

If the necessity of probate is based on the value of the estate, it is vital that you acquire an accurate and reliable valuation from a reputable provider. Failure to provide the necessary documentation to support your case when investigated by HMRC could result in severe sanctions.

To mitigate this risk, Dawsons offers a team of internationally renowned valuers and auctioneers, who have extensive experience in probate-related valuations, and expertise in a number of fields, including paintings, decorative art, jewellery, silver, watches, furniture, and more. Our probate specialists are discreet and thorough, ensuring that each physical asset is accounted for and formally recorded in compliance with HMRC regulations. Within seven working days of your appointment, you will receive a detailed valuation report, giving you the evidence you need to make an informed decision on whether probate is necessary.

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