My aunt died and left everything to me in her Will, so why are the bank asking for probate?
It’s good news that your aunt took the important step of making a Will, as this makes the administration of the estate much more straightforward. In making her Will, your aunt will have appointed someone to act as her Executor. There may be more than one Executor, and they will be named in the Will.
Executors have several duties such as registering the death, getting copies of the death certificate, organising the funeral, as well as obtaining a grant of probate, looking after the deceased’s property and possessions, paying any Inheritance Tax that may be due and arranging for the assets to be distributed amongst the beneficiaries named in the Will.
In order to distribute the assets of the estate to the beneficiaries, the Executor will usually need to obtain a grant of probate. Before this can be obtained, it will be necessary to identify the assets and liabilities of the estate and pay any Inheritance Tax that’s due.
In dealing with an estate, whether or not a grant of probate is required by the Executor to enable the estate to be administered depends on the nature of the assets that your aunt held at her death.
Dealing with a small estate
If the estate left by your aunt is relatively small, then probate may not be necessary. If she left only a few hundred pounds in a bank or building society account, and nothing else, then you may find that a grant of probate isn’t required. Banks each have their own limit, but generally if the amount involved is less than £15,000 they won’t require to see probate before allowing the Executor to access the money on the presentation of the Will and death certificate.
However, if your aunt left considerable amounts in cash, or a property or other assets such as stocks and shares, then it will be necessary for the Executor to apply for a grant of probate.