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Probate - who gets paid first?

View profile for Andrew Welch
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Can I do probate myself?

After someone dies there is a strict order for dealing with their estate.

It can take many months because in a lot of cases a grant of probate will be required before any money can be distributed to beneficiaries. Our information on grants of probate gives more information on this and how we can assist.

Before an estate can be distributed the executors have to pay off the debts first. That can include things like utility bills, any tax owed and the funeral costs.

The next thing to be paid is the pecuniary legacies, which is gifts of specific amounts of money. There may also be gifts of specific items such as family jewellery. What is left is the residuary estate which is what is paid out last.

Often these things can be done very close together and a good solicitor should be able to deal with them without unnecessary delays once all of the assets have been gathered together.

Sometimes delays can occur because beneficiaries need to be traced or a property such as a house needs to be sold. It may also be the case that someone has indicated that they intend to make a claim against the estate in which case executors may be well advised to delay any distribution until any such claims have been dealt with.

It is sometimes possible to make an interim payment to beneficiaries of part of what they are owed where the money is available, the grant of probate has been obtained and it is clear what is ultimately going to be paid out after provision for any other claims or matters.

At Stephensons we have a team of Wills and probate specialists who can make sure that the right amounts are paid out to the right people, protecting executors and beneficiaries. We will help to avoid any delays and where appropriate we can make interim payments from the estate. For a friendly and supportive, no obligation, free discussion on whether we can help you please call us on 0161 696 6238.

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