When someone dies, you need to be able to deal with their assets and possessions (their ‘estate’) and distribute them according to their wishes. You might need to apply for a ‘grant of representation’, which is known as ‘probate’. You can either apply for yourself, or use a lawyer to apply for you.
A lot of people will start out thinking they can handle probate by themselves – but soon find out it as not as easy as they thought. Often it can be too much to deal with, especially if they are already trying to handle the grief of losing a loved one. A probate specialist will typically handle the matter more quickly, dealing with tax matters and ensuring no assets are missed.
You should always consider using professional probate services such as ours where:
- The value of the estate is over the Inheritance Tax threshold
- The estate is still earning a regular income
- There is no Will and the estate is not straightforward
- There are any doubts at all about the validity of the Will
- The deceased had dependants who they left out of the will
- There is any possibility that the Will might be challenged
- The estate has any complexities, such as assets held in a trust
- The estate is bankrupt
- The estate includes foreign property or foreign assets
- For tax purposes the deceased resided outside of the UK
We can provide you with affordable cost effective probate services.
How does probate work?
The first step is to check and see if the person who died left a Will. If there is, this will usually name who should deal with their estate. If there is no Will, the person’s next of kin can apply for a grant of Letters of Administration.
If the application is accepted, they will have the right to deal with the person’s assets including their bank accounts, savings accounts, property etc. They will be responsible for paying inheritance tax, collecting together assets (including the proceeds of sale from any property the person owns), paying any debts and finally distributing the estate.
When is probate NOT required?
Probate won’t be required if the entire estate passes to a surviving spouse automatically where the assets (e.g. bank accounts) were in joint names.
Sometimes probate is not required if the estate is very small. However, you’ll find that each financial institution has their own rules and limits.
Quite often you may be told by others that ‘probate isn’t needed’. Our experience is that this is usually not the case as they are simply not privy to all the facts and are taking things on face value. Our advice is to contact us in the ﬁrst instance and we will be pleased to advise.
Our probate services
April King’s team offer a friendly and professional fixed fee service. We will visit you at home and explain the processes for Probate and Estate Administration to you, providing initial advice and guidance completely free of charge. This will help you to make the necessary decisions about what you should do next. If you use our team to deal with probate on your behalf, our independent probate solicitors will take care of all legal and estate administration processes on your behalf for a highly competitive fee.
More information on probate:
From the blog:
The controversial plans to raise the fees payable on making a grant of probate have been shelved, ahead of the general election. These may be revisited in the future.
Changes to Bereavement Payments, Widowed Parent’s Allowance and Bereavement Allowance are the latest in a number of measures that target those already struggling to cope with both their grief and the financial impact of losing their partner.
The Ministry of Justice has confirmed that the Government’s plans to increase non-contentious probate fees from May 2017 will go ahead.