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Wills v Probate

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I often hear comments like “I have a will I don’t need probate” or “you don’t need a will just probate”. Wills and Probate are two entirely different things so I thought I would provide you with some brief details. A Will is a document that sets out what you want to happen when you die.  Firstly it will state who you want to be given the responsibility of dealing with everything on your death (these are called Attorneys), this can be a family member, a friend or a Solicitor.   It will then set out who you want to benefit from your estate – this could be as straight forward as leaving everything to one person, dividing it equally between several people or setting out individual gifts.  Your Will can also set out any requests you have for your funeral and burial. Without a Will your estate will be distributed according to the intestacy rules and you have no say over how this is done.  Say for example you have died just leaving children, one of which is a step-child but in your eyes is your child, unless you have legally adopted that child they will not inherit under the intestacy rules, your estate will be divided equally between your biological children.  A Will can ensure that you decide who benefits from your estate. Probate is the process of dealing with your estate after your death.   You may  need a Grant of Probate or Letters of Administration to do this.  This is a legal document that allows the Attorneys/Administrators to deal with your estate,  which can involve selling property, withdrawing money from bank accounts, cashing in shares etc.  Once they have received all the assets the Attorneys/Administrators will then distribute the estate according to either the  Will or the intestacy rules. If you require any assistance either in make a Will or dealing with Probate please either telephone me on 01623 448331 or email me at rbrough@fidler.co.uk Rebecca Brough

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