It takes a year, on average, to obtain a Grant of Probate and complete the estate administration process. The exact time scale depends on whether there is a will or not, and the complexity of the estate.
We know that managing probate while you are grieving for a loved one is extremely difficult. Our probate solicitors are here to provide you with as much practical help as you need. We can save you from time consuming financial, legal and administrative tasks and make probate as quick and straightforward as possible.
What is probate?
Probate is the legal process of proving that a will is valid. If there is no will, probate is about establishing who has the authority to deal with a deceased person’s estate.
The Probate Registry will issue a grant of representation to the person applying for probate. This gives them the legal right to manage and distribute the possessions, money and property of someone who has died.
If the deceased person had a will, the grant of representation will be a Grant of Probate. If they did not have a will, Letters of Administration will be issued instead.
Do you need a probate solicitor?
You can manage the probate process yourself if you choose to do so. However, we strongly advise that you seek legal advice from a specialist probate solicitor.
Probate and estate administration normally involves making calculations for Inheritance Tax and possibly Capital Gains Tax and Income Tax. There are significant legal responsibilities, and the paperwork is both complex and time consuming.
Executors and administrators of estates are personally liable if any mistakes are made with legal work or financial calculations. Using an experienced probate solicitor prevents mistakes and offers peace of mind at an already challenging time.
What is the probate process?
Here is a guide to the estate administration and probate process. A probate solicitor can provide you with all the assistance you need throughout.
1. Make initial arrangements
Register the death
A person’s death must be registered within five days. A death certificate is issued upon registration.
Locate the will
If you cannot find your loved one’s will our probate solicitors can advise you on what to do.
Arrange the funeral
You can arrange a funeral before going through probate. Banks and building societies will normally release money from the bank account of someone who has died to pay for their funeral.
Care for the estate
Executors and estate administrators are responsible for looking after estates for beneficiaries and any creditors, so it is important to preserve assets as well as possible.
2. Value the estate
An estate must be valued before applying to the Probate Registry for a Grant of Probate.
The value of an estate takes into account debts as well as assets. Executors are legally responsible for making every effort to locate unknown creditors as well as beneficiaries of a will. It is very important that executors keep accurate estate accounts.
Our probate solicitors can offer you legal protection by ensuring these duties are carried out correctly.
3. Complete an Inheritance Tax form
Once an estate has been valued an Inheritance Tax form must be completed. Inheritance Tax is due by the end of the sixth month after a person has died.
IHT of 40% is payable on estates above the £325,000 threshold, unless assets have been left to a spouse, civil partner, charity or amateur sports club.
You can reduce Inheritance Tax for your loved ones by planning your assets when you make your will. If you would like advice about this, please talk to our wills and probate solicitors.
4. Apply for a Grant of Probate
Once a deceased person’s estate has been valued an executor can apply for a Grant of Probate.
5. Settle debts and taxes
When an executor has a Grant of Probate they can collect the assets of the person who has died and pay any Income Tax, IHT and Capital Gains Tax due. They can also pay any creditors.
6. Share the estate amongst beneficiaries
The executor can now share the estate according to the wishes expressed in the will.
How QualitySolicitors Can Help You
We have an extensive network of specialist probate solicitors who can help you with estate administration and applying for probate. Our probate solicitors can work with you by providing as much, or as little, advice and practical assistance as you need.
Our probate services
QualitySolicitors help executors and estate administrators who are going through a family bereavement with every aspect of probate and estate administration.
Our probate services include:
- Registering a person’s death.
- Arranging the funeral and organising funeral payments.
- Locating missing beneficiaries.
- Locating any creditors.
- Identifying all assets, investments, money and property owned by the estate, including business assets, foreign assets and foreign property.
- Valuing estate assets and calculating debts.
- Registering the estate and any trusts with HMRC.
- Completing Inheritance Tax calculations and tax returns.
- Applying for a Grant of Probate/Letters of Administration.
- Dealing with any disputes about the will - contentious probate.
All our partner firms are authorised and regulated by the Solicitors Regulation Authority. At QualitySolicitors we pride ourselves in offering a personal service tailored to each client’s needs. Contact us to see how we can help on 08082747557.
What if there’s a dispute or contentious probate?
Disputes can arise during estate administration for many reasons, which can lead to a delay in the probate process.
If you are considering contesting a will or inheritance or you have found yourself involved in a dispute, it is important to seek legal advice quickly. Our probate solicitors can provide you with the support and legal expertise you need.
What happens after a Grant of Probate is issued?
Once a Grant of Probate has been issued, the executor of a will has the legal authority to administer the deceased’s estate.
How do you value an estate for probate?
Calculating assets such as money in savings accounts, bank accounts and shares can be relatively straightforward. The HMRC requires a professional valuation for assets estimated to be worth over £1,500.
The value of a property is the open market value at the time of the owner’s death. An estate agent or professional surveyor can provide this valuation.
Our probate solicitors can offer you guidance on an estate valuation or carry out a valuation on your behalf.
What happens if there is no will?
When someone dies intestate (without a will), their personal representative must apply to the Probate Registry for Letters of Administration. Like a Grant of Probate, this document gives legal permission to manage an estate.
The deceased's personal representative is usually the family member who will inherit the most under the rules of intestacy. If there is a surviving spouse or civil partner they will probably be the personal representative.
If you are dealing with the estate of a loved one who has died intestate, our probate specialists can provide you with legal guidance.
Do I need probate if I have power of attorney?
A Lasting Power of Attorney ends upon the death of the person who granted these powers (the ‘grantor’).
Even if you managed someone’s financial affairs while they were alive, you will still need to go through probate to have the legal authority to deal with their estate.