Top questions about applying for probate during the coronavirus outbreak

With banks, building societies and law offices closing across the country, many people have been left wondering how to deal with their loved one’s estate. Here are some tips to help you apply for probate from the comfort of your own home.

Can I still get a grant of probate during the coronavirus lockdown?

Yes, you can apply for probate by speaking to a probate specialist over the phone. Our probate specialists are uniquely trained to handle cases over the phone, helping you to get your application sorted as quickly and safely as possible.

We’ll talk through your situation in detail to gather information about your loved one’s estate and prepare your application, then we’ll send it out in the post for you to sign. Once you’re happy, your application can be submitted to the probate registry. Your grant of probate will then be sent out in the post as soon as it’s been approved.

Can you apply for probate without seeing a solicitor?

Yes, you can apply for probate without going to see a solicitor. With social distancing rules in place across the country, solicitors are no longer able to offer a face-to-face service. But this doesn’t mean you have to put it off – our team specialise in helping people get probate sorted over the phone.

If you need help getting probate sorted, or if you have questions about what’s required, give us a call on 020 3695 2090. We can take you through everything one step at a time to help get your probate application ready.

Once your application has been submitted and approved by the probate registry, your grant of probate or grant of letters of administration will be sent out to you in the post.

How do you register a death during the coronavirus lockdown?

Due to the outbreak of coronavirus, most register offices across the country are now offering telephone appointments to register a death. Some may also accept appointment requests through an online portal. Remember: it’s important to register a death within five days.

You can find your local register office’s contact number on the government website here. You’ll then be able to set up a telephone appointment to register the death. The appointment itself is free, but you’ll need to pay £11 for each death certificate, which will then be sent out to you in the post.

How do you value a property when the estate agents are closed?

In most cases, our probate specialists can accept an estimate or online valuation for your loved one’s property. You can get a virtual valuation by going to Purplebricks’ free house valuation page here.

The only time this can’t be accepted is if the value of the estate you’re dealing with is close to the inheritance tax threshold. This is £325,000 for 2020/21, but if your loved one previously inherited all of their spouse’s estate, the inheritance tax threshold may be £650,000.

If you know you need probate but you’re unsure which inheritance threshold applies for your loved one’s estate, call our probate specialists on 020 3695 2090.

How do you calculate the value of someone's estate when the banks are closed?

Due to the coronavirus lockdown, banks and building societies across the UK are closed. This means that you can’t go into your local branch to enquire about your loved one’s accounts. However, our customers have found that you can get the information you need by giving them a call.

If you need help with this, please give us a call on 020 3695 2090.

Can you administer an estate during the coronavirus lockdown?

After receiving your grant of probate or grant of letters of administration, you’re free to close accounts, sell property and collect funds from the estate in one place. You should be able to deal with banks and building societies over the phone, but you’ll probably need to send them the grant by post – this is to prove your right to administer the estate.

One thing that could be more difficult is selling property. If you use an online estate agent that offers virtual valuations and viewings, you may be able to make a sale, but more traditional estate agents on the high street are likely to struggle during this time. You can arrange a virtual valuation with Purplebricks here.

If you have any questions about administering an estate or want to speak to a probate specialist about your situation, please call us on 020 3695 2090.

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