We offer a flexible range of legal advice and services for executors and/or beneficiaries in and around London relating to probate.
Probate is simply the legal term given to the process of administering a deceased person’s estate.
Our probate lawyers approach is flexible ensuring that you have the level of expert legal advice, help and support you need.
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, our probate solicitors can also advise and assist on the Intestacy rules.
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.
The executor will need to apply for a Grant of Representation from the probate registry office.
Under most circumstances the executor/executors will be expected to follow up their application by attending an interview before the Grant of Representation can be awarded.
Once they have received the grant the executor then has the authority to access the deceased’s accounts and start getting them in order ready to distribute as stated in the will.
This is the time when the executor can start paying off any debts and closing down old accounts.
The final stage of the executor’s duties is the distribution of the estate. This involves complying with the will regarding any specific gifts and paying out legacies after completing the estate accounts and paying any debts and/or Inheritance Tax. This is unfortunately often the time when family probate feuds arise.
Perhaps one individual named in the will didn’t get as much of a legacy as he or she was expecting or is left out of the will completely. Disputes also often arise about delays in estate administration by executors or where the executors are compelled by the will to retain assets on trust or have discretion to invest, effectively acting as trustees also
Another common problem which can arise at the point of distribution is when unknown relatives or friends are named in the will and, subsequently, need to be traced in order to be given what is rightfully theirs.
When someone dies without having written a will, or their will has been revoked for some reason then they are deemed to have died intestate. They have therefore not formally chosen who their assets should be given to, therefore a set of rules known as the Intestacy Rules apply.
These rules are contained in the Administration of Estates Act 1925.
No 2 situations are the same – some estates are relatively straightforward and a formal grant may not be needed, others are highly complex, involving trusts, many different assets, difficulties with finding information or people who are beneficiaries. In some situations, relationships between relatives also cause issues. In many situations, we can offer a fixed fee service, either a straight fee or percentage of the estate value, aimed mainly at support to ensure paperwork is done correctly and to take some time pressure or stress , way. In other situations, where estate administration will clearly be complex or take a long time, we offer competitive hourly rates and highly experienced, specialist legal advice.
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.