Probate vital to consider when creating your will

Keren Bonker advises a confused Abu Dhabi resident on the terms of a will.

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I have been looking at arranging a will, but am confused about some of the terms used. I keep hearing about probate and that this has to be arranged if I die, but what is it and can I sort this out now? My will is mainly for England if that makes a difference. LF, Abu Dhabi

What is being referred to here is something called a grant of probate. This is a legal document that gives the named executors of someone’s will the right to sort out their affairs following death, known as “administering their estate”. Assuming someone has made a will, the executor applies for a grant of probate from a section of the UK court known as the probate registry and they then have the authority to deal with the deceased person’s assets including property, money and belongings. They can use the document to show they have the right to access funds, sort out finances and collect and share out the deceased person’s assets as set out in the will. In most cases, the relevant institution will need to see the grant of probate before transferring control of the assets. If someone dies without having made a will, generally referred to as being “intestate”, a close relative of the deceased can apply to the probate registry to deal with the estate. In this case they apply for a grant of letters of administration. These cases are more complicated, as the law specifies who should deal with the affairs and inherit the estate, and not only can it be more costly, but it can also take years to resolve.

Keren Bobker is an independent financial adviser with Holborn Assets in Dubai with more than 20 years’ experience. Contact her at keren@holbornassets.com. Follow her on Twitter at @FinancialUAE.

The advice provided in our columns does not constitute legal advice and is provided for information only.

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