fbpx

Is probate needed when a spouse dies?

Back to Posts
Is probate needed when a spouse dies?

Is probate needed when a spouse dies?

Is probate needed when a spouse dies?

Probate is the legal authority to wind up the affairs of a deceased person and it is generally needed when there are things like bank accounts to close, investments to cash in and property to sell.

You’ll often find that financial institutions will ask for proof that probate had been granted before they will allow access to any assets or information that relates to the deceased party.

However, it is possible that a formal grant of probate won’t be needed when a loved one passes away.

When a spouse or civil partner dies then it is often the case that all of the assets of the deceased are left to the surviving partner.

And as long as the assets were owned jointly by the couple then no probate is needed and everything passes to the surviving spouse.

For small, simple estates then probate is not needed and could in fact unnecessarily slow down the process of distributing the assets.

Need to write a Will? Write your’s on the Smart Will App in 10 minutes for just £19 or £29 for couples.

What about property?

Property can sometimes be the exception to the ‘no probate’ rule.

If a property is owned by a couple as Joint Tenants then there won’t be a problem.

A Joint Tenancy means that the property, whilst owned jointly passes completely upon the death of one of the owners to the surviving partner.

Most solicitors should advise that this is the best way to hold a marital home but if you are unsure then it is best to check with the firm that carried out your conveyancing.

There are exceptions of course.

Where a property is owned jointly but as Tenants in Common then probate will be needed. Similarly, if there is property held purely in the name of the deceased then this will also need to go to probate.

It’s possible also that a couple may be living in a home that isn’t owned jointly by them but by the deceased and someone else, such as their ex-partner following a divorce. Again, this means that probate will be required.

This is also a point that divorced couples really need to consider and check that the property isn’t still owned as Joint Tenants with an ex as it could end up with a current partner being forced to vacate the property following the death of their spouse.

Need to write a Will? Write your’s on the Smart Will App in 10 minutes for just £19 or £29 for couples.

Other times when probate is needed

If the deceased held a share in a privately held company or was part of a partnership then there could be complications around what happens upon their death and a shareholders’ or partnership agreement would need to be consulted.

This may end up with probate being required.

If further assets were held jointly with other people or if the deceased had a very large and complicated estate then it is distinctly possible that probate will be required and if in doubt we would always consult a specialist advisor.

Does a Will make any difference?

The short answer is no.

Probate is required based on the asset and not the wishes of the person who has passed on.

So whilst we would always suggest making a Will because it really does make things simpler and more straightforward it is not an effective way of avoiding the probate process.

If you would like to talk to one of our specialist probate advisors then give us a call now and we’ll help you find a way through any problems you may have.

Need to write a Will? Write your’s on the Smart Will App in 10 minutes for just £19 or £29 for couples.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Back to Posts