Call 0330 912 8338 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 email@example.com.
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 gain a preliminary understanding of the estate and its current status – including detail about the individual assets, the size of the estate, any tax implications, and the existence of Wills.
Following this we will write to you with a summary of the estate position as we understand it, and detailed costs information so that you know what to expect later down the line.
During this initial meeting, we will be looking for detailed information on:
- Your connection with the estate;
- Any named 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 then write to you to confirm our proposed costs for dealing with the agreed scope of your instructions – whether as a fixed fee or as a percentage of the final estate value.
On your confirmation, our work begins and we will step in to deal with ascertaining the estate valuations, tax considerations, and the application for grant of probate which will place the legal authority for administering the estate firmly in the hands of the named executor(s) or administrator(s).
3. Preliminary Stages
The steps Leading to application for the Grant of Probate (or Letters of Administration)
The main bulk of our probate services see us carry out the necessary calculations and research to create a grant of probate application on your behalf.
Contrary to popular belief, when someone dies the named executor does not automatically have the legal right to start distributing the estate – they need to apply for a grant of probate first unless the estate is very low in value.
Obtaining a grant of probate is the process through which the executor or administrator of a applies to be appointed by the court to manage the estate in full, legally, on behalf of the deceased – carrying out the wishes outlined in their Will and distributing the estate up as specified. If no Will exists no executor is named, so you must apply for Letters of Administration by which the court appoints administrators to administer the estate according to the laws of intestacy.
As part of a grant of probate or letters of administration application we shall:
- Locate a valid Will, or establish intestacy to confirm the lack of a formal Will;
- Identify the executors or administrators and beneficiaries;
- Inform all relevant agencies (HMRC, DWP, Insurers etc);
- Obtain full details of the estate’s assets and liabilities, including any lifetime gifts made by the deceased;
- Organise any necessary valuations;
- Liaise with all parties to collate relevant documents and information relating to the estate.
- Calculate and provide advice on Inheritance Tax liability and reliefs and strategies available to mitigate liability;
- Provide advice on funding the payment of Inheritance Tax to HMRC;
- Prepare the application for Grant, complete and submit relevant HMRC forms;
- Submit the application for the Grant on your behalf.
4. Administration of the Estate
As a broad guide you can expect the grant of probate or letters of administration application process to last between three and six months for straightforward estate and longer for a more complex estate, with various factors impacting the timeline – including the extent and nature of assets and liabilities, contents of a Will, tax arrangements and so on. When we have a clearer understanding of the scope of the estate and requirements for its administration we can give you more accurate guidance on the timescale.
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?
A grant of probate is often required when someone dies. It involves the executor or named administrator of the estate applying for a grant which enables them to hold legal responsibility for the execution and management of the will and estate.
If someone dies without owning any real estate, significant 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). This 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.
What's the difference between a Grant of Probate and Letters of Administration?
A grant of probate can be applied for by a named executor of the deceased individual’s Will.
Letters of administration must be applied for in cases where there is no written Will and someone, usually a family member, must apply for permission to manage the estate.
Do I have to use a lawyer?
Typically, clients engage the work and support of solicitors at trying times, when the demands of the administration and paperwork outweigh their capacity to cope while also grieving. Not only does working with a lawyer make the process easier but we also commit to keeping our clients in the loop and informed of every decision and detail.
Frequently probate solicitors will be engaged where there are assets to be realised, multiple beneficiaries, inheritance tax to pay and in more complex cases. The main benefit of a lawyer’s support being their specialist knowledge and expertise to ensure the correctness and efficiency with which the process will be carried out no matter how challenging the situation. If you decide to proceed without a lawyer then you will need to be confident in managing:
- A probate application form and supporting paperwork requirements
- The calculation of the total estate value, including tax and individual assets
- The calculation payment of inheritance and capital gains tax due while using any allowances and mitigation measures available
- Recording, accounting for and distributing the estate
Our probate specialists will provide specific tailored advice according to the situation, processing legal documents, and ensuring that HMRC’s tax requirements are all met.
Can I deal with it and just get advice when I need it?
There are plenty of resources online which offer support and guidance to making a probate application – however, as the process deals with the complexities of managing and valuing a person’s estate, it is recommended that you seek advice during each step of the process. If you prefer to make the application yourself, our team will be happy to provide advice and assistance in the background when needed.
Although working with a solicitor or legal team comes at a cost, the benefit of professional advice lies in us relieving you of the burden and quite possibly saving expense to the estate of many times the cost of legal fees. To make the process as easy as possible for our clients, our team can offer advice and support at any stage of the probate application and process as required. Simply get in touch with us for more information on how we can help you.
What if it’s complicated?
The process of managing an estate, from establishing its value to carrying out the wishes outlined in a Will, applying for a grant, and ensuring the tax requirements are dealt with accordingly, can be complex. The right legal team can support you in all aspects of the process, helping you to track down a Will or proceed under intestacy if no Will exists.
How we can help you
Our team of expert professionals and probate specialists cover everything from the details of a Will to the grant of probate application and beyond. Our job is to make your life easier at a time when grief can be overwhelming – and our team operate with the upmost discretion every step of the way.
Let our team of local solicitors help you as you navigate this challenging and emotional time.
Further Information and Price Guide
Additional information on the probate process and costs involved.
Are you a named executor in a Will – or administrator if no Will – but are being “left out of the loop” for no good reason? Is there a dispute about who can apply for probate, or about the existence or legality of a Will? If so, it may be necessary to challenge...
SHAREWhat is the Trust Registration Service?The Trust Registration Service (TRS) is an online service for trustees, or their agents (e.g. accountants or solicitors) to provide information to HMRC about their trusts. The register is the government’s...
SHAREThere are many misconceptions about debt and inheritance. It’s not correct that when a person dies, their debts die with them or that their family members are responsible for paying their debts. When someone dies their debts are normally paid...
Still Need Help?
Call 01284 767766 to speak directly to our expert Probate Team. They’ll be happy to talk through the process with you, explain what we do, and answer any questions or concerns you have. At this early stage in the process, there is no obligation – we are simply here to help and offer advice that best works for you.