What is probate?
It’s the term commonly referred to when winding up a person’s estate after they have died so that a grant of probate is received to enable the executor to distribute the deceased person’s estate in accordance with their Will
There are a number of stages in the process which starts with gathering information from all relevant institutions who hold the deceased persons assets or are owed money. Tax forms are then completed with any Inheritance tax reliefs/allowances are claimed so that the correct amount of tax is calculated and paid to HMRC.
Grant of probate is then sent to all of the relevant institutions to close accounts, sell or transfer assets, pay any debts/outstanding invoices and sell any relevant property. All legal work and tax work is then finalised prior to the producing of Estate accounts and making a final distribution to beneficiaries
Banks and solicitors can charge fees which average 2.5% of the total estate plus VAT or will charge an hourly rate of around £350 plus VAT plus disbursements, so the final cost is unknown
The administration of an estate should be within the capability of many individuals/Executors however they are unable to charge for their time (Only reasonable expenses) and the process can be very time consuming where the individual/executor could be held liable should any errors be made in the calculation of any Inheritance tax payable to HMRC or errors on the distribution to the beneficiaries based on the instructions in the Will.
As specialists we work closely with organisations that offer a full probate service including creating Trusts where necessary or applying to vary a Will if needed. These include Trust Corporations, solicitors and Lawyers. All of the probate and Estate administration lawyers we recommend will offer an excellent service and this will all be done within a fixed fee which is agreed at the outset. Our recommended lawyers are fully insured for the work that they undertake and due to our relationship with them we will look to negotiate a more competitive price than you would receive if you approached them directly
If a person dies without leaving a valid Will they are said to have died ‘Intestate’ and their estate will be distributed in accordance to the ‘Rules of Intestacy’ as set out in the ‘Administration of Estates Act 1925’ which recognises blood relations and spouses. Any unmarried partners, step children, friends etc would have no rights under the Act and may bring a successful claim on the deceased estate via ‘The inheritance Act 1975’.
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