Probate is the method by which your estate is legally transferred after you pass away. Any estate worth in excess of five thousand pounds will have to apply for Probate.
The process of Probate takes between 6 & 12 months and costs £215 for the Grant of Probate from HMRC plus solicitors costs to complete the process. There is currently a debate in Parliament which is proposing to increase the Grant of Probate fee to £274. Longer term, the government are looking at increasing that to as much as £5000. Solicitors costs vary between 2-5% of the value of the Estate.
During the Probate period you are not allowed to take ownership of, nor are you allowed to sell any assets. HMRC will not grant Probate until all taxes due on the estate are paid. Assets placed within certain Trusts, will bypass the Probate process.
Most of us will have a home we own so Probate is inevitable. Give your loved ones ownership of your assets immediately, upon your passing away and to avoid Probate, by placing your assets in a Living Trust. You can put your home in a Living Trust, even if it has a mortgage.