When a married couple is faced with the death of one partner, the bank or asset provider will usually set their own rules for how the property is divided. If the couple was co-partners at the time of death, the surviving spouse will automatically inherit the share of the property that corresponds to the other partner. In this case, there is no need to file probate or letters of management unless there are other assets that are not jointly owned. However, if the partners are joint tenants, the surviving spouse does not automatically inherit the other person's share.
In this case, a succession or letters of administration will be needed so that the personal representative can transmit it to the person who inherits the part of the property, in accordance with the will or the rules of intestate succession. In general, probate is required to distribute property and assets to beneficiaries if they were solely owned by the deceased person. The amount required for an inheritance to go through a succession can vary depending on several factors. It is important to note that estate tax may still need to be paid to HMRC on probate, even if an estate grant is not necessary.
The following table, based on data from Co-Op Legal Services, sets out a list of probate limits for major banks and mortgage credit companies in England and Wales. Once you have obtained the succession or letters of administration, you can start managing the estate and distributing it. If an executor does not want to take responsibility and prefers that the estate be fully managed, they can request a grant of probate instead of letters of administration. This will allow them to obtain an estate so that assets can be transferred to their intended recipients (the “beneficiaries”).
It is possible to avoid probate if it is reduced to taxable levels, although this only provides a modest aid. If inheritance tax must be paid, part of it must be paid before estates or letters of administration are granted. Organizations will not reimburse anyone else who pays, which means they will likely have to wait for a will or letters of administration to be granted. If you are looking for ways to avoid probate in the UK, there are several options available.
One way is to reduce your estate value below probate limits set by major banks and mortgage credit companies in England and Wales. You can also request a grant of probate instead of letters of administration if you do not want to take responsibility for managing your estate. Finally, you can reduce your inheritance tax liability by paying part of it before estates or letters of administration are granted. No matter what option you choose, it is important to understand how probate works in order to make sure your assets are distributed according to your wishes.