When you’ve lost a loved one, it’s a stressful and difficult time. Dealing with probate and estate administration is probably the last thing you need. As specialist probate and estate administration solicitors, we can provide as much or as little help as you require.
What is Probate?
When a person dies, obtaining ‘probate’ is the process of applying for the legal right to deal with their property, money and possessions (known as their ‘estate’). If the person has died without making a Will, the process is very similar but is known as ‘administration’.
“Martin Cooper was the perfect solicitor. Solicitous and proactive in just the right measure. Always prepared to go the extra mile. Outstanding performance.” IR, February 2019
Do I have to instruct a specialist probate solicitor?
Put simply, no. Many people, particularly if they have the necessary skills and time – and the estate is reasonably straightforward – do apply for probate without using a specialist solicitor. However, you should be aware that applying for probate and dealing with an estate carries legal obligations. Indeed, you can incur personal liability should you get it wrong!
There are certain situations where instructing a specialist solicitor is particularly recommended. These include:
- Where the Will names a charity or charities as beneficiaries;
- When the estate may be liable for Inheritance Tax;
- If the deceased person left no known Will (known as ‘dying intestate’), particularly if the value of the estate is likely to exceed £250,000;
- If there are concerns over the validity of the Will;
- If the Will has been, or is likely to be, contested. For example, where dependants of the deceased person have not been mentioned in the Will;
- If the Will mentions ‘Trusts’ or is otherwise complex;
- Where the deceased person had foreign property or assets;
- If the deceased person had business or agricultural assets;
- If the estate was insolvent. In other words, if the value of all the assets is less than the liabilities.
“Brilliant in every respect. Jenny Greenland is a consummate professional. She has great interpersonal skills. She is also kind, sensitive and thoughtful.” RW, December 2018
How we can help
Our specialist probate and estate administration team can advise you on all of the often complex issues that can arise when dealing with a deceased person’s estate. We can provide as much or as little assistance as you decide. Many people instruct us to make the application for probate on their behalf and thereafter to administer (deal with) the assets of the estate in accordance with the terms of the Will. However, the extent of our involvement is entirely a matter for you.
We are experts in negotiating with HM Revenue & Customs to minimise the amount of Inheritance Tax that is to be paid from the estate.
We can also advise you on post-death variation of the Will to help maximise the value of the estate.
“Imogen Moran was very friendly and knowledgeable.” DB, March 2019
The types of service our team can offer include:
- Registering the death;
- Applying for probate/administration of the estate;
- Establishing who is entitled as a beneficiary of the estate;
- Locating missing beneficiaries;
- Identifying and administering the assets of the estate until they can be either sold or distributed to the relevant beneficiaries;
- Dealing with the debts of the deceased;
- Dealing with HM Revenue & Customs, including preparing and filing any necessary tax returns;
- Advising the executors in the event that the Will is challenged;
- Distributing the assets of the estate and accounting to each beneficiary in accordance with the terms of the Will.
“Martin Cooper was superb throughout, friendly, very helpful and always available for telephone advice.” PL, February 2019
For further information contact our probate and administration of estates team on 01225 755656, or complete the contact form at the bottom of this page.