Appointing a solicitor to deal with probate

Unfortunately, we are all now experiencing the effects of Coronavirus spreading throughout the country. It is becoming increasingly more likely that someone will care about will contract the disease and in some cases this will result in their death. 

Dealing with a bereavement is an incredibly upsetting time and we understand that it can be difficult to get your head around what happens next. When someone dies, they will often leave behind a family, a house, savings, pensions and so on. In many cases, a Grant of Probate will be needed before you can deal with someone’s estate.

A Grant of Probate is the legal authority given by the Court which enables the correct people to act in the administration of someone’s estate. The Grant will allow the Executors to deal with the assets in someone’s estate, for example to close their bank accounts, sell their property and pay any debts.

You may have done some research online and have found the forms to apply for Probate. However, in many cases complications can arise and getting a solicitor involved can prove to be invaluable. We can provide you with peace of mind, ensuring that everything is dealt with correctly and efficiently.

If someone left a Will, they will have named people who they would like to be their Executors. These people are often close family members or friends, or could be a professional such as a firm of solicitors. We understand that some Wills can seem complicated and we can help advise you on what they mean and the implications.

If someone dies without a Will, they will have died “intestate”. There is a certain order of people who are able to deal with the estate and are entitled to benefit. We can help you search for a Will and if one cannot be found, we can ensure that the right people are involved. 

In order to get a Grant of Probate, an application must be completed and sent off to the Probate Registry. An Inheritance Tax report will also be required by HMRC. We have a wealth of experience in dealing with straightforward and complicated estates and the obligations that arise from them. We can ensure that the correct information is submitted in the timescales set out by HMRC in order to avoid incurring unnecessary penalties.

We can also ensure that the maximum advantage is taken of using all tax reliefs and allowances, potentially saving thousands of pounds on an Inheritance Tax bill. We can also advise on other tax implications which may arise such as Income Tax and Capital Gains Tax.

Once the Grant of Probate has been received, the assets must be collected in and liabilities settled. The estate must then be distributed in accordance with the Will or Intestacy Rules. There may be a complicated family arrangement or missing beneficiaries. Having a solicitor acting as an independent party means that we are accountable to all of the beneficiaries. They may be less likely to fall out or take issue with how the estate has been dealt with if they know that a solicitor has been responsible for providing a proper account of the deceased’s affairs. 

In some cases, a beneficiary may not want to inherit a large sum of money. For example, if your elderly relative has left you a large sum of money, you may wish to skip a generation and pass on your inheritance to your own children instead. We can help you arrange your loved one’s estate and your own affairs in a tax efficient way.

If you have been affected by the loss of someone close to you, we can take the stress of the legal work away from you. We are currently working remotely but are maintaining a business as usual approach. We have a specialist team of caring and compassionate solicitors who are on hand to help and are able to offer you a tailored service to meet your needs. You do not need to come into the office to speak to one of our solicitors. We can speak to you over the phone or via a video call. We are also available on email.

If we can help you, please contact a member of the Private Client team on 01276 686 222. 

For more insights on COVID-19 and how we can assist you or your business, visit our COVID-19 hub here.

This reflects the law at the date of publication and is written as a general guide. It does not contain definitive legal advice, which should be sought as appropriate in relation to a particular matter. 

Charlotte Drury-Woods
Partner, Head of Private Wealth & Inheritance
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This reflects the law and market position at the date of publication and is written as a general guide. It does not contain definitive legal advice, which should be sought in relation to a specific matter.

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