When it comes to the complexities of the probate process and distributing an inheritance, having an experienced wills and probate solicitor on your side is invaluable. Our team guide you through the process, ensuring that no detail is overlooked, the deceased’s wishes are honoured, and beneficiaries receive their inheritance promptly.
In essence, it’s our job to see to it that nothing is overlooked and all potential pitfalls are averted. We also offer our expertise in the drafting of wills, ensuring our clients’ interests are secured.
By using us you have the comfort of knowing we are a qualified, insured, regulated and professional firm of solicitors.
Everything we do is open and transparent, so you can be sure of a full estimate of costs from the outset with no unexpected bills.
What is probate?
Probate is a legal process occurring when an individual has passed away. It involves the administration of their estate according to their will, or the rules of intestacy if no will is in place.
Probate refers to the legal and financial process involved in dealing with someone’s assets post-death, incorporating everything from valuing the estate, applying for a Grant of Representation and dealing with any Inheritance Tax liabilities that arise, to achieving the sales, transfers, gifts and distributions set out in the will
Probate is required in England and Wales under certain conditions, for instance, if the deceased owned property, land, or certain assets solely, or if a bank or financial institution demands a Grant of Probate to access certain holdings such as savings or bonds. Probate may not be needed if the deceased had joint assets or only had savings/bonds that didn’t require a Grant of Probate for accessibility.
What is a Grant of Representation?
A Grant of Representation is an official document certifying the authority of the personal representative of the estate to administer the estate of the deceased. If named as an executor under a will, an application and approval for a Grant of Probate is usually necessary to manage the deceased’s assets as per the instructions in the will. It is essential to note that if the deceased did not have a will, the personal representative will usually need to apply for a Grant of Letters of Administration instead of a Grant of Probate.
This legal document is usually a prerequisite to access or deal with certain assets, such as obtaining money in bank accounts or to sell any property.
When is a Grant of Representation required?
If you are named an executor in a will, then acquiring a Grant of Probate may be essential. This legal document authorises the executor to manage and distribute the assets of the deceased as outlined in the will. It’s often required to access certain assets like bank accounts and to sell any property.
There’s a common misbelief that a Grant of Probate isn’t necessary for estates valued under £5,000, as many financial institutions will release funds lower than this total. Yet, it’s not a hard rule and varies from one institution to another.
Equally crucial is the understanding that the ownership of joint assets also decides whether it is a requirement to obtain a Grant of Probate. In cases where assets were held jointly, they’d typically pass onto the surviving spouse or civil partner without necessitating probate. But, if assets like property were owned as ‘tenants in common’ instead of ‘beneficial joint tenants’, acquiring a Grant might be necessary.
Professional assistance from our Probate Solicitors can make the process of probate simpler for you. Our team are skilled at handling these matters swiftly and efficiently.
How long does the probate process take?
The average probate timeline varies depending on the complexity of the estate. It usually involves:
- 1-8 weeks of preparation for the Grant of Probate application.
- 3-5 months of the probate application pending approval.
- 3-6 months of estate administration process.
- 1-6 months for the distribution of inheritance and end of probate.
It’s important to note that straight-forward probate processes could take less time, while more complex situations could extend the timeframe. It typically takes 6 to 9 months for the estate distribution, post-probate approval.
Our experienced wills and probate team are here to support you every step of the way. We specialise in all matters relating to will writing, contesting a will, estate and trust administration, lasting powers of attorney and deeds of variation. Trust us to help you keep your loved ones protected.
What are the probate fees in England and Wales?
Prior to January 2022, where an estate was valued at more than £5,000, HM Courts and Tribunals Service (HMCTS) charged £155 for an application by a professional, i.e., a solicitor, and £215 for personal applicants. However, from 26 January 2022 onwards, the probate fee for all applications is now set at £273, effectively balancing out the costs for both personal and professional applicants.
This adjustment isn’t to increase revenue for the Government. Instead, the new fee only covers the costs of processing probate applications. However, it’s important to note that these aren’t the only costs to budget for.
In situations where there is no will readily available or there’s an associated property sale, you have to budget for additional costs which will vary on a case by case basis. You can read more about probate costs here.
How can our team of probate solicitors help?
In trying times of grief, managing the legal obligations of a loved one’s estate can be difficult. That’s where we step in, our team of experienced probate solicitors can help guide you through this process, smoothing the complicated aspects and lifting the burden off your shoulders.
As part of our full service we will
- Provide you with a dedicated and experienced probate solicitor to work on your matter.
- Identify the legally appointed executors or administrators and beneficiaries.
- Accurately identify the type of Probate application you will require.
- Obtain the relevant documents and figures required to make the application.
- Complete the Probate Application and the relevant HMRC forms.
- Make the application to the Probate Registry on your behalf.
- Obtain the Grant and supply a copy to you.
- Collect and distribute all assets in the estate.
- Prepare and supply estate accounts to show all monies received in and paid out.
Get in touch, for more information on how we can help you
What Does a Probate Solicitor Do?
A probate solicitor, also known as a wills and probate lawyer, provides vital assistance in steering the executor through the probate and inheritance procedure. Our team utilise their expert knowledge to ensure nothing is overlooked, the wishes of the deceased are respected, and beneficiaries receive their inheritance promptly.
When appointed as the executor of an estate via the deceased’s will, we can assist in carrying out estate administration tasks. From managing the distribution of assets to beneficiaries, the sale of any assets and other matters outlined in the will, having us on your side can save you from unnecessary expenses, delays, and disputes among family members.
Can you do probate yourself without a solicitor?
Technically, yes. The executor of a will can complete probate without solicitor involvement, mainly in cases where tax management, estate accounts, and inheritance are straightforward with no complexities. However, the passing of a loved one is emotionally challenging, and the responsibilities – both administrative and legal – associated with estate administration can add to this burden.
As probate solicitors, we have a deep understanding of probate law. We are well-versed in the legal terms used during the probate process and will guide you every step of the way. We will significantly reduce the likelihood of mistakes and settle the deceased’s estate in a timely manner.
Frequently asked questions
How much money can you have in the bank before requiring a Grant of Probate in the UK?
Probate thresholds for UK financial institutions range between £5,000 and £50,000. They may change based on the institution’s policies, so it’s best to confirm with the relevant institution when needed.
Do solicitors expedite the probate process?
Our probate solicitors can help prevent errors and hasten the probate process, ensuring a smoother, timely administration of the estate.
When can probate application be refused or delayed?
While probate delays are common, your probate application can only be refused if it’s invalid. However, probate may be delayed or contested if a caveat has been entered at the Probate Registry, if the Probate Registry requires additional information or if there is an issue with the Will, such as a clerical error or if the original document could not be located and the executor only has a copy.
When is a Grant of Probate not required?
Probate is not usually required if the deceased owned a property as joint tenants with a living individual, as the property passes automatically to the survivor.
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