Probate is simply the legal term given to the process of administering a deceased person’s estate.
We offer a variety of legal advice and services for executors and/or beneficiaries relating to probate, ranging from :-
Our approach is flexible ensuring that you have the level of help and support you need rather than a "traditional" approach of only offering to deal with the whole matter at a percentage cost of the value of the estate.If you are an executor or an administrator of an estate and need probate solicitors in North London or London generally, please do get in touch.
Your basic role as executor, whether you were appointed in the will or are a relative who agrees to take on the role of administrator where there was no will. is to collect in assets, pay off liabilities including any inheritance tax, possibly transfer or sell assets and then to distribute assets. Some probate matters are straightforward, others involve significant legal and practical challenges such as where there are numerous beneficiaries, disputes between or with beneficiaries, complex assets or liabilities.
Given that a very significant proportion of the UK population do not make a will, we can also advise and assist on the rules governing administration of the estate and distribution of assets contained in statutory rules known as the Intestacy rules.
Executors are not legally required to accept their appointment and can renounce their role. Commonly executors are family members of the deceased who may also be beneficiaries under the will. Due to the technicalities of probate law or, all too commonly, family disagreements or disputes, executors may instruct probate solicitors and lawyers to assist with the administration and help with applying for probate.
If you need advice of any kind, whether at the outset or as and when a problem arises during probate, we provide an experienced and cost effective service. It is especially important to recognise that if you make a significant error which is potentially negligent, you may be personally liable as executor or administrator, which is another good reason to get good legal advice on any issue of concern. Doing so may well protect you at a later stage.
When somebody dies, there is a period, pending probate, when nobody has the right or obligation to represent the deceased legally. Assets (including property) in an estate will remain frozen until the Probate Registry gives legal authority (via a document know as a Grant of Representation) to the individual(s) nominated in the Will as executors, to deal with the deceased's legal matters.
If there is a Will, the estate will pass to the people named in the Will. If there is no Will certain rules known as the Rules of Intestacy will apply.
The probate process, depending on many factors but not least the type and number of assets and availability of information and supporting documents, can take from months to years.
Aside from dealing with the initial issues of funeral or other arrangements, the initial role, aside from applying to be appointed as executor or administrator is to establish whether inheritance tax may apply and to investigate the assets and liabilities of the deceased. Both of these tasks are interlinked. Assets will need to be formally and independently valued in many instances, such as where there is a property, by several established local estate agents.
An executor’s duties include drawing up accounts providing all the details of assets and liabilities and possibly to enable any necessary tax return to be completed. The executor must also:
There are circumstances in which a formal grant may not be required, notwithstanding that it is always a safer to obtain one. Generally, if a deceased had very limited assets, it is possible that a Grant may not be needed, and the below factors may help in determining whether one is needed:
We can assist in a variety of ways, including but not limited to: