What is Probate?
In general terms it is the process of dealing with your loved one’s estate when they pass away. This includes collecting in any assets, clearing any debts and distributing their assets either under the terms of their Will, if there is one, or in accordance with the laws on who should benefit from the estate if there is no Will (called the intestacy rules).
Who can deal with the estate?
Anybody named in the Will as Executor is entitled to deal with the estate. If there is no Will, the nearest relative of the deceased can act as the Administrator to deal with the estate.
What is a Grant of Probate/Letters of Administration?
This the document from the Probate Registry which authorises the Executor named in the Will, or the nearest relative of the deceased if there is no Will, to close bank accounts, sell assets and collect in all the assets from the estate.
Why do I need to use a Solicitor?
The role of Executor or Administrator comes with extensive obligations and duties which can be onerous.
The estate needs to be accurately reported to the Probate Registry and HM Revenue & Customs. The Executor or Administrator is personally liable for incorrect information being provided.
They must also take all reasonable steps to collect in all assets and pay any outstanding liabilities including settling the tax position of the deceased.
An Executor or Administrator is personally liable for any loss to the estate if they fail to safeguard assets. If correct steps are not taken then they can also be personally liable for any unknown creditors or beneficiaries.
Executors are also obliged to consult with those due to benefit from the estate in making decisions and have to be able to provide full estate accounts showing how the estate is to be distributed.
Why use Brearleys Solicitors?
Our specialist, dedicated team can take the stress and risk out of dealing with an estate of your loved one and deal with everything efficiently and skilfully. We are clear from our initial meeting regarding what costs will be involved and you will be kept up to date both in relation to costs and in relation to progress and next steps on a regular basis. Our team are knowledgeable but approachable and understanding. We offer a number of services to suit your specific needs and keep costs to a minimum.
To discuss matters further or to arrange an appointment please do not hesitate to contact our offices where one of our team will be happy to assist.