Wills, Probate & Intestacy Solicitors
The death of a loved one is always an emotional and distressing time. Unfortunately there are many things that have to be done. We would be happy to assist you in sorting out the formalities relating to the administration of an estate, whether there is a Will or not. We are also experienced in those cases where matters are not so straight forward and we can guide you through this.
When someone dies they leave assets in their name, for example, a house, bank accounts, shares etc. Whoever holds the assets (Land Registry, Bank, Share Registrars) will usually want to see a Grant of Representation from the Court prior to releasing the assets.
There are two main types of Grant of Representation:-
Grant of Probate – Where there IS a valid Will
Probate is the legal procedure to decide whether a Will is valid. Where there is a Will in place that has an executor appointed who is able and willing to prove the Will an application is made by the executor for a Grant of Probate. Generally (unless the estate is worth less than £5,000.00) assets will not be released to the executor without sight of a Grant of Probate.
Grant of Letters of Administration – Where there IS NOT a valid Will
Where there is not a valid Will in place when a person dies the law states who is entitled to apply to the Court for the Grant of Letters of Administration. Once issued by the Court authority is given to the appropriate person to deal with the estate (known as the administrator). They have the same responsibilities as an exexutor.
If you are appointed as an executor or you are the person to extract a Grant in an intestacy the thought of carrying out these tasks may sound daunting and time consuming but we are here to help. We have an experienced team who specialise in the administration of estates, ensuring the whole process is completed smoothly and promptly. We can arrange for the probate valuations of all the assets as at the date of death and can also assist with the completion of the Inland Revenue Accounts, preparing the documents for extracting the Grant, collecting in the assets of the estate after the Grant has been issued, instructing genealogists to trace missing beneficiaries, selling the deceased’s property, preparing Estate Accounts and finally paying the money to the beneficiaries.
We offer a range of services to suit your needs from dealing with everything on your behalf to just submitting the application to the Court and are happy to work with you to discuss the best way that we can support you.
Typically, this is what we do:
From instruction and receipt of all documentation required, we establish which assets make up the estate and contact all asset holders for example, bank and building societies, shareholdings and investments. We can also arrange valuations of properties. We would ascertain what debts/liabilities are required to be paid e.g., funeral account, credit cards, loans, mortgages and any utilities. Once we have received this information, HMRC forms are prepared, inheritance tax is paid (if necessary) and a Legal Statement is produced for signature by the Executors to obtain the Grant. We anticipate being able to apply for the Grant of Representation within 6-8 weeks of instruction unless the matter is unduly complex, and information is not easily forthcoming. A Grant is currently taking approximately 12-16 weeks to be returned to us from the Probate Registry.
If we are dealing with the administration of the whole estate as opposed to just extracting the Grant, once the Grant is obtained from the Probate Registry, we can collect in or transfer the assets of the estate, discharge any liabilities, and arrange the sale/transfer of any properties. The timescales are dependent on third party responses. We will ensure that if the estate is taxable that HMRC has been correctly accounted to.
Beneficiaries are contacted and identified, and bankruptcy searches are undertaken. Interim distributions can also be made if appropriate. We can also assist with tracing of missing beneficiaries by instructing genealogists.
Upon completion of all the formalities, Estate and Distribution Accounts are prepared for approval by the Executors. Once the Executors have approved the Estate Accounts, the final balances are sent to the beneficiaries in accordance with the terms of the Will or intestacy.
We can do part or all the probate administration and would be happy to discuss with you what you want to do.