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Probate Services

When someone dies, it can be a difficult and overwhelming time for those that are left behind to deal with the legal processes that need to be completed in order to settle the deceased’s estate.

Probate is the term commonly used to describe the process of finalizing the affairs of someone after they have died. The Grant of Probate is the legal document obtained when there is a Will for the executors to deal with the estate of the person who has passed away. When there is no Will, then Letters of Administration are to be applied for.

These documents are required to provide the deceased’s representatives with the legal authority to deal with the estate including the financial and legal aspects for property, personal possessions, bank accounts, building societies, shares which are subsequently to be distributed to the people who are due to inherit.

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The Executor (or Administrator) is the person who is financially and legally responsible for administering an estate. This individual (or individuals) is personally liable for the correct distribution of the estate. This means that they must ensure that they provide the correct beneficiaries with the correct legacies. It is a substantial and challenging role and the process of administering someone’s estate is a significant task.

We appreciate how challenging and difficult this can be, particularly at an already distressing time which is why we provide a professional, comprehensive and, most importantly, personal estate administration service.

We can help provide comprehensive support including the following:

• Establishing the existence and validity of a Will

• Requirements for statutory notices and the Probate process

• Collecting and collating the deceased assets

• Paying off the deceased persons debts and liabilities

• Establishing beneficiaries and inheritance rights

• Distribution of property and assets to the correct beneficiaries at the correct time

• Estate accounts (including tax calculations)

Bereavement is a painful process and dealing with the formalities of someone’s affairs can seem daunting. Here at Beneficial Family Wills, we’re here to support you at every step of the way.

Download your Probate Checklist

Frequently Asked Questions

1. What is Probate?

Probate is the term commonly used to describe the process of finalizing the affairs of someone after they have died. The Grant of Probate is the legal document obtained when there is a Will for the executors to deal with the estate of the person who has passed away. When there is no Will, then Letters of Administration are to be applied for.

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2. Is Probate always needed?

In most instances, yes a Grant of Probate will be required in order to release funds and assets from an estate. However, in some cases it may not be needed and we can provide guidance and advice dependent on the specific circumstances. In certain situations, some financial institutions such as banks and building societies may decide to pay monies from the deceased persons estate without a Grant of Probate to pay for immediate expenses such as funerals or inheritance tax bills.

3. What is an Executor responsible for?

The Executors role is pretty extensive when dealing with a deceased persons estate. They must ensure the estate is maximized for those who are inheriting (the beneficiaries) and they most identify all of the assets and debts of the deceased. If there is any Inheritance Tax to pay, it should be submitted and paid in the designated timescales as determined by HMRC. It should be noted that an Executor (or Administrator) is personally liable should any errors on the inheritance tax return come to light at a later date. An Executor/Administrator is also personally liable for the incorrect distribution of an estate.

4. How long does probate take?

If there is a will in existence, this can often speed the process up however, on average, in England and Wales it can take up to 12 months to obtain a Grant of Probate and complete the Estate Administration process. There are a number of reasons why it can take this length of time, sometimes longer:

• The Grant of Probate can take up to 3 months to arrive once the application has been sent to the Probate Registry

• Any Inheritance Tax due from the estate will need to be paid to HMRC before the Grant of Probate can be issued

• There may be disputes over the contents of the Will

• There may be property to sell

• There may be difficulty locating beneficiaries

5. How much does probate cost?

The cost of probate is usually paid from the deceased persons estate. The fees for probate and administration can vary widely depending on the complexity of the estate. Whilst some professionals operate on a variable fee basis, Beneficial Family Wills are able to offer a cost effective and personal service on a fixed fee basis and we would welcome the opportunity to talk to you and discuss your needs.

All probate and estate administration services are conducted by our SRA regulated and fully approved legal services partners.
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