|Our Probate and Estate Administration Team are available on 01225 755656. You can also email them or make an enquiry via the Contact Form at the foot of this page.|
Dealing with the death of a loved one is hard enough without the added stress of managing their legal affairs. Our team of probate and estate Solicitors will help guide you through the legal responsibilities with expert advice on administering an estate.
What is Probate?
If you are named in a Will as an ‘executor’ and you agree to be appointed, probate will be granted to you upon application.
The Grant of Probate represents your authority as an executor to deal with the deceased person’s assets so that you are then able to pay any debts and tax before distributing the balance of the assets in accordance with the terms of the Will.
How long does a Grant of Probate take?
Under normal circumstances, the Probate Registry will issue a Grant of Probate within 2 to 4 weeks of the application. However, as a result of lockdown in 2020/21, delays of several months have been experienced.
May I take this opportunity of extending my sincere thanks to Sarah Loveless for her professionalism and excellent work. Prompt replies to all enquiries which were answered with great clarity. Highly recommended. W.H., Client
What happens if you die without a Will?
If there is no Will or there is a reason that named executors cannot or will not apply for a Grant of Probate, statutory rules apply to decide what should happen.
Our experienced probate specialists provide sensitive and clear advice at what is inevitably a very difficult time. They are able to look after Inheritance Tax (IHT) papers and the probate application on your behalf.
Once a grant of probate has been obtained, we are then able to deal with the remainder of the estate administration on your behalf, or should you choose, hand everything over to you so you can collect in the assets, distribute them to the beneficiaries and pay any tax due. As an executor, the extent of our involvement is entirely a matter for you.
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.
Brilliant in every respect. Jenny Greenland is a consummate professional. She has great interpersonal skills. She is also kind, sensitive and thoughtful. R.W., Client
Do I need a solicitor for probate?
Many people, particularly if they have the time – and the estate is reasonably straightforward – 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 also 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 (IHT);
- 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.