Anyone responsible for dealing with the estate is known as a 'personal representative'.
If the deceased only held accounts in joint names with someone else and Probate isn't needed, the personal representative may be able to deal with everything in a few weeks. On the other hand, if Probate is needed, or if the person owned property, this process can take some time.
If you are the personal representative, you can decide whether you want to:
Our Bereavement Support Team can talk you through the different options available.
If you choose to deal with the estate yourself, you may find yourself receiving and paying out large sums of money and having to keep track of a stream of transactions. One way to simplify this process and keep all money separate from your own is to open a dedicated Executor Account with HSBC.
If you would like to discuss this service, or simply talk through any part of the process that is unclear, our specialist Bereavement Support Team is here to help. Call us on 0345 850 0088.
Grant of Probate or ‘Probate’ (or Confirmation if you live in Scotland) is a general term used to describe the process you may need to go through to apply for the legal right to deal with an estate.
The process involves applying to the Probate Registry, who formally confirm if a will is valid or, if there is no will, check that you are legally allowed to deal with the deceased's estate. Once they are satisfied, they'll issue a legal document called the Grant of Probate, or the Grant of Letters of Administration (if there wasn't a will). This document formally names the person(s) responsible for dealing with the estate. In Scotland, both documents are known as 'Confirmation'.
Once the personal representative has received Grant of Probate, they'll need to show the legal document to banks, building societies and other organisations to prove that they have authority to deal with any assets the deceased owned.
Probate is not required where all the deceased assets are held jointly with another person and where they pass automatically to the joint owner.
Where the value of the deceased assets held in their sole name is greater than £5,000 Probate may be required. Most financial institutions have individual discretionary limits for releasing assets without seeing the legal document.
At HSBC it's important that we support you as an individual. Every case will be reviewed by one of our bereavement specialists and decisions will not be made solely on the value of the estate. If we're notified of the death by a personal representative, either during a visit to one of our branches or by calling the Bereavement Support Team direct, we'll be able to advise our requirements immediately and if we need to see Probate. If we're notified by post we will confirm all our requirements in writing.
Note: Where the deceased owned a property in their sole name Probate will always be required before it can be sold or transferred.
To apply for Probate yourself, you need to complete some application forms and send them to your local Probate Registry Office. You can download these here or order them from the Probate and Inheritance Tax Helpline on: 0300 123 1072. A standard fee is payable, when registering, for all estates of £5,000 or over.
In Scotland, you apply to the Sheriff Court instead of a Probate Registry Office. Click here for more information, or contact a solicitor.
In 2015, after careful consideration, we transferred our Probate Services business to Simplify Channel Ltd (Simplify).
Simplify has an established UK probate business with a range of specialist services to support personal representatives with the probate and estate administration process.
Their services include:
For further details on how Simplify can support you, please call 0160 865 3405 or overseas, +44 (0)178 986 7107 or visit: https://www.simplifyprobate.co.uk/.
For independent advice the Money Advice Service provides information on when you could use a probate specialist. The Money Advice Service website for more information.
Depending on the value of the estate and who it is left to, you may have to pay inheritance tax. Generally, some or all of the inheritance tax must be paid before Probate is granted. This is normally paid by the personal representative, using money from the estate. It may be possible for HSBC or another bank to pay this using money held in the deceased's accounts.
If there isn't enough money available in the account to pay the inheritance tax, you can get further information from the HMRC website. This includes the current limits and ways to pay, under the following headings:
The personal representative is also required to settle other taxes such as income tax and National Insurance for the person who has died. Contact HMRC and they'll tell you what to do.
For more information, visit the government website page.
This is step 6 of 6 outlined on the overview page
You can inform us of a bereavement online.
You can send documents to:
District Service Centre
HSBC UK Bank plc
Harry Weston Road