Probate may seem like a scary and complicated process, especially as it often comes at a very difficult time. At Kingsley Smith solicitors, we’re here to explain all the technicalities and support you when and where you need it.
What is probate?
Probate is the legal process of administering the estate (including property and finances) of a person who has passed away in accordance with a valid will.
This can be a lengthy and involved process, and one that is stressful, especially when dealing simultaneously with losing a loved one. For practical, proactive advice, call us today on 01634 811118, email us at firstname.lastname@example.org or make an online enquiry today.
Applying for Probate
Once someone dies, all the things that they own, such as their property, possessions, and money – known as the estate - will be frozen. This means that they are temporarily inaccessible.
In order for the wishes outlined in the will to take place (known as the administration of the will), the probate registry must give the authority to the executors named in the will.
The probate registry is part of the government’s family court service and each area of the UK has a local registry to apply to. The process may seem complex and overwhelming, but it doesn’t have to be. Our supportive team can take you through the steps you need to take when someone passes away.
The executors must calculate how much the estate is worth and apply to the probate registry for the grant of probate (sometimes known as the grant of representation). This is the document that allows them to begin administering the will of the deceased person.
If the estate is over a certain size, inheritance tax must be paid, some possibly before the grant of probate can be issued. The executors swear an oath before a solicitor. After this, the grant can be issued, and administration of the will can start.
Executor of estate
The executors of the will are usually responsible for the probate process and legally obliged to make sure everything is done according to the latest laws and requirements. Most people will turn to a solicitor to help them with the probate process.
If there is no will, the Administrations of Estates Act 1925 dictates how the estate should be distributed by the closest living relative. We can help you through the process, whether you’re an executor or someone closely related to the deceased.
As part of the estate administration, the executor or administrator will need to value the estate as well as identify any pensions and life insurance policies. They will need to be aware of any credit card debts and mortgages. They should also account for funeral expenses. You’ll need to fill out a probate form and an inheritance tax form.
The length of time for probate to be granted can vary dramatically. It can be as little as a month. Once probate has been received by the executors of the will or administrators, they will be able to deal with transferring the assets, closing accounts, dealing with property and paying off debts.
All debts that relate to the estate must be paid off before the remaining assets can be distributed. If anything is not done properly, the executor/administrator may be personally liable so it is important to get the process right. With the right support, you can negotiate any pitfalls or complicated areas.
There is generally a lot of paperwork involved. A difficult task at any time, but particularly if you’re dealing with grief. We can help you with the process. For more information on our probate service give us a call on 01634 811118, email us at email@example.com or make a quick online enquiry.
At Kingsley Smith Solicitors, we offer a partial or full probate service. We think it’s important to allow you to return for additional advice at any point throughout the process.
We can help you prepare the application for the grant of representation and meet you face to face, so you feel fully supported at all stages.
We can help you negotiate the complex area of inheritance tax, as well as with deeds of variation, which enable you to change a person’s will after their death. We can help you minimise inheritance tax as well as finalising tax affairs, finalising pensions and issuing notices for creditors.
Most of the cost of paying for a probate solicitor can be taken from the estate once probate is settled, meaning there will most likely be no upfront costs.
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