Areas of Law / Wills and Probate

If a person dies and the sole executor is the next of kin, does probate have to be applied for when everything such as bank accounts and the house are in joint names? Does the executor have to send inheritance tax forms to the tax office even if no inheritance tax is due?

As a general rule assets which are held in joint names will pass automatically by survivorship to the surviving joint owner. Ordinarily therefore it should not be necessary to obtain probate or deliver an inheritance tax return where no tax liability arises. An exception might be where the house is held as beneficial tenants in common. In that case probate might be required to enable the executor to transfer the deceased’s interest in the property in accordance with the terms of the will of the first joint owner to die. 

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