When a loved one dies, there can be quite a lot that causes confusion, particularly around the subject of wills. When dealing with legal documents and processes, such as dividing up an estate after someone passes away, there can be words thrown around which are not used in everyday life.

We want to make this process simpler for you and your loved ones.

What is a will?

will is a legal document, written by a person during their life that is used to determine that person’s wishes after their death. It’s a written document that is usually stored either at home, a lawyer’s office or on the will register.

Your will includes your estate

An estate, including personal belongings like property, jewellery, cars etc, will be divided up after you die and writing a will is your opportunity to determine what you would like to be given to your loved ones. You can also include wishes for your funeral in the will and name various beneficiaries and choose an executor. An executor is the named person who is tasked with carrying out your wishes and taking care of your estate after you’re no longer around.

What is probate?

Probate is all part of the process following a death. It is the legal appointment of a representative to deal with your assets. This is usually the person who is named as executor in your will but there are certain circumstances where this can be contested. For example, if there is an old will that surfaces after death and has a different executor listed, it would need to go to court to be resolved.

What is an executor?

This person, once appointed, will be given full control of the assets and will be responsible for a range of tasks, including paying all bills and outstanding debts, closing bank accounts, paying off remaining taxes and executing the will.

It’s not always necessary to go through the legal process of applying for probate, particularly if the estate is small or a spouse is alive. If you have questions, feel free to reach out to us.

What is the difference between a will and probate?

In short, a will is a legal document and probate is a legal process. A will comes first and probate follows after death.

  • A will is written by a person and is used in the event of their death to carry out their wishes. Probate is a legal process that appoints a person to execute the will after a person has died.
  • A will is written by a testator, or owner of the estate, whereas probate is created by an executor, or the person named by a testator to carry out their wishes.
  • A will is signed by the testator and probate is signed by a judge.
How long does it take for probate to be granted?

You can apply for probate online if you’re the executor of the will and the person who died lived in England or Wales, you have the original will and death certificate, and you’ve already reported the value of the estate to HMRC. You can read more about the process of applying for probate at Citizens Advice.

In straightforward circumstances, it may only take around four weeks for it to be granted. In some cases, though, it may take much longer. For example, if there is an inheritance tax to be paid, or if probate is being contested.

Make a will online today

At Bequest, we want to make sure that you’re fully equipped to make the best financial decisions for yourself and your loved ones. Writing a will is a huge part of securing your family’s future and it’s a good idea to know a little bit about what the legal process is after a death occurs.

You may want to read our article ‘What Happens When You Die Without a Will?’ to help you make the best decision over what is the best route for you to take when it comes to writing a will.

Now is always the best time to get started, and with our easy online process for writing a will, (and getting life insurance!) there really is no better way to protect your assets and your family.

No nonsense life cover is just a few minutes.

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