Administration of Estates – Getting the Grant
This can be done via a firm of Solicitors, in which case, we post off the Original Will, with 2 copies, the IHT205 (I’m not dealing here with a taxable estate) and the Oath, which the Solicitor will have prepared.
The Will is an exhibit to the Oath, which needs to be signed and sworn, the Will should also be signed as part of the swearing process. Both the Oath and Will should be signed by the Executor/s and the Solicitor or Commissioner for Oaths, but they will direct you as to what should be done and should not be signed or dated until the moment of the swear and at the direction of the person taking the swear. The IHT205 needs to be signed and dated by all Executors, but does not need to be sworn.
The Grant of Probate cannot be issued until 1 month after death, but usually the paperwork is not ready prior to that, as all the information regarding the valuations of the estate must be collated in order to be included in the IHT205.
The IHT205 is a tax return and as such should be treated seriously; HM Revenue & Customs take a dim view of tax avoiders, having said that, the IHT205 is the form that tells HMR&C that no Inheritance Tax is due. This is the case for the vast majority of estates. HMR&C are very fair, they want to collect the tax that is due, but not more than that, they are not like a profit making organisation, where a bit more profit is always welcome! So where there is no tax to pay or a situation where a tax refund might be necessary, they are not trying to “trick” someone into paying more tax. Since the IHT205 is a form about a situation where no tax is due, HMR&C tend not to be too concerned over it, unless there is an obvious mistake or the estate is close to the Inheritance Tax limit. Therefore at all times, complete it to the best of your ability, but understand the purpose of the form in the bigger picture.
On a personal application, you will need to ring the Probate Registry for an appointment and go to see them with the information they request and attend the interview. They will tell you what you need to do and what to bring. There is a return of some paperwork, as with the process via Solicitors, but they will tell you what to do.
Then a few weeks later (usually 2-4 depending on how busy they are), the Grant of Probate arrives by post.