Can you avoid probate altogether? Here are three scenarios where probate is not required:

1. Estates worth less than £15,000

In most cases financial institutions, such as banks and insurance companies waive their right to ask for probate where the estate is worth less than £15,000. Instead, they will release the funds to the executor up on the production of the original death certificate and completion of an account closure form (although the form may need to be witnessed by a solicitor). The bank or building society will confirm to the executor whether they require probate or not to close the account.

2. Assets owned Jointly

Probate is not required for assets that are owned in joint names, for example joint bank accounts or jointly owned property (as joint tenants rather than tenants in common). Where this is the case, up on the death of one of the joint owners, the law of survivorship means the that the asset automatically becomes the property of the surviving joint owner – even if the Will states otherwise. The bank should change the account over to the surviving joint owner automatically following notification of the death.

3. Assets that do not form part of the estate

For example an employer’s “death in service” benefit payable from a pension scheme. In this case the benefit is paid at the discretion of the Trustees of the pension scheme. Often there is a “nomination of benefit” form in these circumstances which will guide the Trustees.

If probate is required and an Executor does not wish to take on the responsibility and would prefer the estate is fully managed. IWC offer a fully managed probate service. Call us on 020 8150 2010 for further details.

Our service can be reviewed here:

We offer a fixed fee that is agreed before we start work. One of our consultants will visit the Executors at their home (coverage across England and Wales) and go through the work that needs to be done. IWC fees, when divided between all of the beneficiaries, typically results in each beneficiary only paying a few hundred pounds for a fully managed probate service.

Choosing this option would be preferred if:

a) The Executor does not have the time

b) The Executor is concerned about legal and procedural matters.

c) There is a challenge to the will by outside parties

d) The Estate has no funds to pay off existing debts

e) The estate is subject to inheritance tax and the Executor does not have experience to deal with such matters.

f) The deceased owned a business or a farm

g) A foreign Grant of Probate is either required or needs to be obtained. This would typically occur if the deceased owned assets outside of England & Wales.

We hope that answers the question of ‘can you avoid probate altogether?’