Whenever someone dies the circumstances are unique to them so it can be very difficult for those left behind to know what to do. We offer professional Probate services to our clients.
If there’s a valid Will in existence then the Executors named in the Will are appointed to deal with the estate – although establishing the existence and whereabouts of a valid Will may be an initial challenge, which we can also help address.
However, if there’s no valid Will in existence then the Rules of Intestacy determine who can be appointed as the Administrators of the estate and how the estate is to be distributed.
Being an Executor or an Administrator can be a technically and emotionally challenging role. Executors and Administrators are personally liable for administering the estate correctly, so getting good professional advice may be a sensible step to protect against that personal liability.
The more complex an estate, perhaps involving business interests, property holdings, investments, foreign assets and questions of residence and domicile, the more specialist the advice required.
Even after someone’s death, the decisions Executors or Administrators make can have a dramatic impact on the tax payable on the estate so getting the right advice at this time might make a huge difference to the beneficiaries.
Every Executor or Administrator can instruct a Solicitor of their choice to assist them with the estate administration and the legal fees are settled by the deceased’s estate. We’re always happy to give guidance by telephone or meet up to discuss how we can help, what options are available and what your next steps should be.
We’ve a great deal of experience assisting clients during these challenging times; advising on the administration of estates both straightforward and complex, with the highest levels of care and discretion.
Call 01284 767766 to have a chat with our expert Estate Administration Team. They’ll be happy to talk through the process with you, explain what we do, and answer any questions you have. There’s no obligation.
Or email Nicola Clayton on firstname.lastname@example.org.
Nicola is a Partner and she’ll be happy to help.
1. First Meeting
We’ll meet with you (ideally in person, but this can also be done by phone, Zoom, Teams or Skype call) to get a preliminary understanding of the status of the estate, following which we’ll write to you with a summary of the position and detailed costs information.
What we aim to learn from our first meeting:
- Your connection with the estate;
- Executors and beneficiaries;
- The existence, or not, of a Will and its location;
- The assets and liabilities of the estate;
- Any possible claims against the estate;
- Overall Inheritance Tax position;
- The extent of the assistance you require from us.
2. Costs proposal and Confirmation of Instructions
We’ll confirm our proposed costs for dealing with the agreed scope of your instructions to us, in writing, and on your confirmation, we’ll start progressing our part of dealing with the estate.
3. Preliminary Stages
Leading to application for the Grant of Probate (or Letters of Administration)
This phase of work we undertake will usually include:
- Locating a valid Will, or establishing intestacy;
- Identifying the executors or administrators and beneficiaries;
- Obtaining full details of the estate’s assets and liabilities including any lifetime gifts made by the deceased;
- Organising any necessary valuations;
- Liaising with all parties to collate relevant documents and information relating to the estate.
- Calculation and advice on Inheritance Tax liability and reliefs and strategies available to mitigate liability;
- Advice on funding payment of Inheritance Tax to HMRC;
- Preparing the application for Grant, completing and submitting relevant HMRC forms;
- Submitting application for the Grant.
4. Administration of the Estate
Following Grant of Probate (or Letters of Administration)
Once the Grant has been issued by the Court, we shall:
- Collect in the assets of the estate;
- Coordinate the sale of assets as appropriate;
- Organise payment of the debts and liabilities including any outstanding Inheritance Tax;
- Prepare interim Estate Accounts as appropriate;
- Arrange necessary tax returns to HMRC and payment of any Income and Capital Gains taxes due;
- Finalise Inheritance Tax position with HMRC;
- Prepare final Estate Accounts;
- Distribute the estate to the beneficiaries.
Do I need a grant of Probate?
When someone dies not owning any real estate, or shares, or assets worth more than around £15,000 (and sometimes more depending on what this comprises), it may not be necessary for their beneficiaries to obtain a grant of Probate (or Letters of Administration if there’s no Will), which can save the expense of going through this process. If you think this applies to your circumstances and would like to ask our Estate Administration team any questions, please don’t hesitate to call on 01284 767766. If we can help point you in the right direction and you don’t need us to deal with anything for you, we’re more than happy.
Do I have to use a lawyer?
Even if a grant of Probate (or Letter of Administration) is required, it’s not obligatory to use lawyers or other professionals to deal with this for you. It is possible for you to make an application to the Personal Application Department of the Probate Registry. Some people are happy to do this themselves, particularly if the estate is small, straightforward, with no tax complexities and there are few beneficiaries.
Can I deal with it and just get advice when I need it?
If you want to make your own application but you need assistance with a particular element, we’re happy to fit our services to your specific needs. Call us on 01284 767766 and our Estate Administration team will be very happy to chat through the options with you.
What if it’s complicated?
Whatever level of involvement you require, whether you would like us to deal with the full administration or just advise on specific issues, our Estate Administration team are widely experienced in dealing with all sizes of estates, from the very small and straightforward through to estates of very high value involving complex structures, businesses, trusts, foreign assets, cross border issues and complex tax situations.
How we can help you
When someone dies their assets and liabilities must be sorted out formally to deal with their estate; this is what’s known in the legal world as ‘administration’. In broad terms, administration involves valuing the estate, dealing with the payment of any inheritance tax due, obtaining the Grant of Probate (the Grant of Letters of Administration if there is no Will), settling any liabilities and distributing and winding up the estate. If the estate is small or the assets were held jointly then administration may not be needed, but the type or value of assets often dictate that the Personal Representative will have the responsibility of administering the estate. If there’s a Will the person or people named in the Will as the Executor(s) have this responsibility (unless they renounce their appointment) and if there’s no Will the intestacy rules determine who’s entitled to apply to administer the estate.
Handling the administration of an estate can be particularly stressful and time consuming. We’re here to help and provide guidance along the way. Our initial no-obligation meeting will determine what needs to be done and the level of input you require from us.