It is a difficult time when a loved one dies and can be extremely stressful. Having to deal with the estate administration could add to your woes, don’t let it.

When a loved one dies, their debts will need to be cleared and their estate needs to be distributed according to their Will or the laws of intestacy (if there is no Will in place).

We offer a full handheld Probate and Estate Administration service from our team.

What is Probate?

The term probate simply refers to the process of gaining the legal right to deal with the deceased’s estate. That person, either an executor under a Will or an administrator without a Will, is responsible for sorting out the deceased’s affairs.

It is important that you conclude the deceased’s affairs appropriately as it can cause both financial and emotional distress to family members if the process is not correctly followed.

If there is a Will in place and an Executor is named, then that person named will need to apply for a ‘Grant of Probate’. If there is no Will or the Executor is not named in the Will then the person looking to conduct the probate as an administrator would need to apply for ‘Letters of Administration’.

The executor is then responsible for gathering all the deceased’s assets, paying any outstanding debts such as a mortgage and distributing what is left according to the Will or intestacy. It can be quite an administrative burden.

As an executor, you will need to complete and send all relevant probate and inheritance tax forms and send to the correct government office.

The estate administrator needs to contact all the relevant financial institutions and understand all the deceased’s debts, then makes an estimate of the estate value and report to HMRC. Anything believed to have a value over £500 should be referred to a professional valuation service. All gifts within the last 7 years will need to be taken into consideration.

Is Probate always required?

No, probate is not always required. You do not need to apply for a grant if:

Everything is owned in joint names and passes by survivorship to spouse or civil partner, such as joint property and joint savings accounts.

The estate does not include solely owned land, property or shares.

A Grant may be required by a bank or other financial institution with which the deceased held assets. This is normally if the amount in the account is over the specific threshold set by that institution.

How we can help you

With our Complete Probate Service we:

★   Take you, as an executor, through the legal meaning of the deceased’s Will;

★   Apply for the Grant of Probate or Letters of Administration;

     ☆   Complete the Probate Application

     ☆   Complete the Inheritance Tax forms

     ☆   Send to the Probate Registry

     ☆   Help you swear an oath that the accounts are accurate

★   Write letters to all involved to close accounts, such as banks and utilities companies;

★   Collect the estate amount;

★   Pay any debts outstanding, such as mortgages, loans and credit cards;

   Claim any insurance policies taken out by the deceased;

   Make final valuation of the estate less of taxes and debts;

★   Establish any Will Trusts setup in the Will through relevant appointments; and

   Distribute the assets to the beneficiaries.

The role of Executor or Administrator, and the estate administration duties involved, can be very time-consuming and challenging as it involves following a specific process, completing complicated forms and a knowledge of both the law and taxation.

If you book an appointment with one of our specialists we can walk you through the process step-by-step and ensure that the estate is properly dealt with.

Farani Taylor Solicitors is authorised and regulated by the Solicitors Regulation Authority, giving you peace of mind knowing that your loved ones probate affairs are being dealt with by a regulated organisation and by a brand you know and can trust.

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Paul Lockyer

London City Office, Head of Estate Planning

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