Should You Create a Will Before Probate?
At any age, it’s vital to have a will in place. A will serves as a legal document that outlines your wishes, allowing for a chosen executor to fulfil them in the event of your passing. A will also helps reduce family disputes, ensuring the protection of your dependants and accounting for your loved ones. For those with a business or complex financial assets, a will can address the specific challenges associated, ensuring they divide their assets in a way that minimises tax implications.
However, an often-overlooked benefit of creating a will is the benefit it has regarding obtaining a Grant of Probate for your estate by your executors.
Why You Shouldn’t Rely on the Rules of Intestacy
Under the rules of intestacy, if you are a client without a spouse, partner, or surviving spouse, and your primary desire is to leave your estate to your children equally, the law of intestacy is applied in the absence of a will. This law means that the children inherit the estate in equal shares, becoming both administrators and beneficiaries. Therefore, the children would manage the distribution of assets per intestacy laws.
This may leave some individuals to believe that they do not need to create a will before passing away. However, creating a will before probate has multiple benefits including but not limited to:
- Simplifying the administration process
- Cost savings
- Reducing probate court involvement
- Faster resolution
The Importance of a Will in the Probate Process
The Probate Registry is currently experiencing severe delays which are showing no signs of easing. If you have a will in place before starting your probate application, you are able to use the online application service. In most cases, if you initiate probate without a will in place, your case will have to be handled using the traditional and significantly slower paper method. A paper application is exclusively submitted to the Newcastle Probate Registry, in contrast to the online application, which gets dispersed to other registries around England and Wales. Therefore, the delay for paper applications is around six months or more. For an online application this figure is around 4 months.
In most cases, simply by having a will, the process of probate could be drastically sped up, with the whole process being much simpler, therefore saving unnecessary expenditure to the estate. This will can be straightforward, merely outlining the distribution of assets in a manner similar to the default rules of intestacy, without the need for intricate details.
A well-written will reassures and provides peace of mind, as it officially documents your wishes for your chosen executors to fulfill, ensuring a more straightforward and streamlined probate process compared to not having a will in place.
The Importance of a Will Before Probate For Overseas Assets
Furthermore, if you possess assets overseas, having a will tailored for each jurisdiction where you hold assets can significantly streamline the administration of your estate. This practice not only saves your executors and family unnecessary expenses but also reduces the potential months of delay.
You do not need to overly complicate the wills for different jurisdictions. Your overseas will can mirror the exact wishes detailed in your English will. The main significance of having distinct documents becomes evident after death, especially during the probate process, where the separate wills significantly will speed up proceedings.
Wills and Probate Solicitors
Our Wills and Probate solicitors offer services from Will writing to setting up a Trust fund, and from drafting Deeds of Variations to guiding families through the entire Probate process.
Get in touch with our Wills and Probate Solicitors on 01254 274 000 or message us here.