Wills & Probate

Wills

If you die without a Will your assets may not be distributed as you would like.

It is approximated that 60% of the UK adult population do not have a Will. We all know we should have one but not enough people are having them drafted. Many Wills are invalid.

A Will is a legal document that states:

  • Who benefits from and can use the assets from your estate
  • How your property is to be dealt with
  • Which of your trusted friends or family is in charge of distributing your estate, your Executor.

A Will is essential for anyone who has children, property or financial investments.

If you want to be sure that your wishes are met then you need to have a Will drafted and ensure that any Will you have is up to date.

If you do not have a Will then you die intestate and your estate is distributed according to the rules set by law. These rules do not cater for your specific wishes and can mean family members may benefit when you would prefer them not to do so. In some circumstances your assets may go to distant relatives you have never met or even pass to the Crown. The number of those dying intestate is rising rapidly.

Within your Will, you can also specify:

  • Any gifts you would like to leave such as jewellery, paintings and alike;
  • Who you trust to manage, organise and distribute your estate;
  • Any charitable donations;
  • All non-family beneficiaries;
  • Any trust planning to ensure that your wishes are met even after you die; and;
  • Your funeral arrangements and ensure it is paid for.

Your Will can help you:

  • Avoid “sideways disinheritance”, if you have remarried or have children from a previous relationship
  • Potentially reduce your Inheritance Tax (IHT) liability

We make the Will writing process quick and easy by ensuring that you receive the right guidance and advice. We help you complete each step from start to finish. At Farani Taylor Solicitors our Will writing team can discuss your wishes, offer guidance and help you to make a Will that is right for you and your circumstances.

Probate

It is a difficult time  and stressful time when a loved one passes away. Having to deal with the estate administration could add to your woes.

We offer a full handheld Probate and Estate Administration service to ease your stresses.

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 or Administrator is responsible for gathering all of 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.

The Executor or Administrator needs to contact all the relevant financial institutions and understand all of the deceased’s assets and liabilities.

As an Executor or Administrator, you will need to complete and send all relevant probate and inheritance tax forms accurately.

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 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
  • 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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