Probate - How to Get your Affairs in Order

What is Probate? and how do you get your affairs in order?

Probate is the process of dealing with a deceased person's estate. As part of this, you apply for the legal right to deal with and distribute their property, money and possessions. If the person has left you a Will, you will get a grant of probate, and if the person did not leave a Will, you will get letters of administration.

One of the most important things you can do to prepare for this is to get your 'affairs' in order and what we mean by affairs is:

1. Make a Will

Time and time again we hear that people haven't prepared a Will and we can't stress enough how important it is to have a Will in place to ensure your financial wishes will be honoured after you pass away. If you die without a Will in place, which is known as 'dying inestate', the law will decide who inherits your estate. This means that your possessions may not go to who you want them to.

When it comes to writing a Will and making sure it's valid, we recommend using a Solicitor to help you with the process. Also, remember to change and update your Will when your circumstances change.

2. Let your Executor Know Where your Will is 

This is an easy step! Remember to tell your loved ones, family members and the Executor where they can find your Will, so when the time comes, they know where and how to access it.

3. Organise your Legal Documents 

It's a massive help to let your Executor know where you keep your important documents, such as:

  • Insurance policies
  • Credit card statements
  • Mortgage information
  • Birth and marriage certificates
  • Tax certificates such as your P60
  • Outstanding bills
  • Bank statements
  • Property deeds
  • Divorce papers (if applicable)
  • Details of savings and investments

This will make the process easier when your Executor eventually needs access to your documents.

4. Ensure you have someone you trust to help in place (in case you need it)

Although this is difficult to think about at any stage of your life, it's important to get some help in place, in case you need it. There may be a chance you'll become too ill to manage your own affairs and in this case, you need someone you trust who will be able to handle this for you. In some cases, it might be important to gain quick access to your money for treatment or other various reasons. Having someone to manage this will be essential.

You can choose to make informal arrangements with a family member or close family friend to deal with your financial affairs on your behalf, but it's worth considering making a formal arrangement, also known as a 'power of attorney'. With this formal (and legal) arrangement, someone can look after your financial affairs and ensure your bills and care fees are paid for.

If you have any further questions or would like to discuss Probate and getting your affairs in order, please feel welcome to contact our team. If you would like to arrange a free initial chat, please contact 01293 521191 or email info@placedobson.co.uk.

In September, we will continue the discussion of Probate and will be discussing 'the biggest areas we see people getting wrong with Probate'.