Probate Advice & Estate Administration Solicitors
The death of a loved one is invariably a time of grief and vulnerability for those who are left behind. It is also a time when dealing with the practicalities and decisions that must be made regarding the estate of the person who has died is probably the last thing that is wanted.
Our highly experienced private client team understands these difficulties and will talk to those responsible for estate administration – the executors (or administrators, if no will was left) – offering support and advice and, on the executors’ behalf, handle all the various aspects that need to be dealt with following a bereavement as part of the estate administration.
We can help in different ways, for example some clients wish us to deal only with the preparation of forms for them. However many wish us to deal with the whole of the administration.
What To Do When Someone Dies
The first step is to register the death, this can be done by contacting the local Register Office who will arrange the appointment and let you know what information/documents you need to take. If the death was unexpected & a Coroner needs to be involved, then the Coroner’s office will talk you through the next steps.
Once the death has been registered, the funeral arrangements can proceed, you may already know the person’s wishes, or they may have written instructions as part of their Will or elsewhere. Most funerals in the UK are arranged via a Funeral Director. It is important to find a funeral director who belongs to one of the professional associations where they must adhere to codes of conduct.
Alongside the funeral, there are other affairs that need to be sorted, these include informing government agencies, banks, pension providers and any other relevant organisations of the death. The government’s Tell Us Once Service is a process where you can make one report which will cover all government agencies, this will be explained to you at your appointment with the Registrar.
There is also the process of dealing with the estate. If there’s a Will, it should say who the executor is and how the estate should be divided. If there’s no Will, the estate will fall under the rules of intestacy. Either way, the estate administration, or probate as its known, process can be very daunting.
The Probate & Estate Administration Process
If personal representitives wish us to deal with the whole of the administration, we will firstly find out what assets and liabilities the estate comprises. Our probate solicitors will then obtain accurate valuations of these from the various organisations and with this detail, make an application for grant of probate by completing and submitting the relevant HM Revenue & Customs form. An application must also be made to the probate court to obtain the grant. In straight forward cases this application is made online. Other more complex matters still have to be dealt with by post. We can deal with all of this for the PRS. Once obtained, the grant will allow us to collect the estate assets, settle any debts and, on the approval of the executors distribute the estate funds according to the will or, if no will was left in accordance with the intestacy rules.
Certain estates may be subject to inheritance tax and, as part of the application, we will deal with the calculation and ensure the timely payment of the tax.
If any state benefits are due to the estate or, in the case of an overpayment, due to be repaid by the estate then we will liaise with Department for Work and Pensions. Similarly, if income tax is due to or by the estate we will communicate with HMRC.
It the estate includes a property, we will be happy to talk to the insurance company ensuring that the relevant cover continues particularly if the property is unoccupied. The clearance of a property can be an arduous and sometimes upsetting task, so, if required, we can arrange for the clearance to be done by a professional, competitive company.
Throughout the administration period we will ensure that the executors are kept fully informed of the work we are undertaking, any queries responded to promptly and, importantly, the charge we make for our services, open to transparency and scrutiny through our time-recording system.
For more information on the costs involved with probate, please click on the box below:
Contact Us for Estate Administration & Probate Advice
Our probate solicitors can help and guide you through the entire estate administration process, easing confusion and providing support after a death. If you require supportive advice or guidance on any administration, probate, trust or will matter, then please get in touch with one of our solicitors.
The deceased does not need to hold a will with us for us to assist with probate and estate administration. We can work on behalf of all clients regardless of who you made your will with.