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Do I need to obtain probate if there is already a will?

Is it necessary to obtain probate if there is a valid will? Our legal experts explain the complexities and legal obligations surrounding wills and probate.


When a person passes away, the process of administering their estate typically involves obtaining probate.

However, one common question that arises is whether probate is necessary if there is already a valid will in place. In this article, Beyond Legal provide some insight into when probate may be required, even with a will.

Understanding Probate

Probate is the legal process that validates a deceased person’s will, confirms the appointment of an executor, and grants them the authority to distribute the estate according to the will’s instructions. It involves gathering assets, settling debts and distributing inheritances to beneficiaries. The probate process ensures that the wishes of the deceased are carried out appropriately and protects the interests of all parties involved.

When is Probate Necessary?

While the presence of a will simplifies matters, probate may still be necessary depending on the circumstances:

  1. Estate Complexity: If the estate is straightforward, with minimal assets and no significant debts, probate may not be required. However, if the estate includes multiple properties, valuable assets, business interests or substantial debts, probate becomes necessary to ensure proper administration and legal transfer of assets.
  2. Legal Formalities: Probate is necessary to fulfil legal formalities, especially when dealing with certain types of assets. Financial institutions, for example, may require a grant of probate to release funds or transfer ownership. Property transfers and other legal transactions may also necessitate probate to establish the legal authority of the executor.
  3. Disputed Claims or Contentious Situations: In cases where there are disputes among beneficiaries, disagreements over the validity of the will or concerns about the actions of the executor, probate can provide a transparent and legally recognised framework for resolving these issues.
  4. Legal Assurance: Probate provides legal assurance and protection for the executor. By obtaining a grant of probate, the executor can carry out their duties confidently, knowing they have the legal authority and protection from potential challenges.

Getting advice from Beyond Legal

While a valid will provides clarity and instructions for estate distribution, it does not automatically eliminate the need for probate. Given the complexities and potential nuances surrounding the need for probate, it is advisable to seek guidance from a legal expert.  

At Beyond Legal, our experienced probate solicitors are here to assist and guide you through the process with expertise and compassion. Get in touch with our Newton Abbot or Tiverton solicitors today.

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