How we can help you with Probate and Estate Administration.
Having to cope with the loss of a loved one is stressful enough and the last thing you need is having to deal with a complicated legal process on top of everything else.
We are here to help you to administer the estate in a sensitive, efficient and cost-effective way so that you can focus on taking care of yourself and your family. We’ve made the process of administering an estate as easy as possible without any worry or hassle.
We’ll give you as much or as little assistance with the estate administration as you like. Sometimes it’s appropriate for us to take on the full estate administration but in straightforward cases, we can work as a team, offering you advice and guidance so you know what work needs to be done and what the risks and issues are.
We don’t like any nasty surprises when we’re paying for a service so there won’t be any unexpected bills when you’re using our service. If it’s difficult to know how much work is involved we can give you an estimate of the costs that we’re likely to incur. We can also give you a fixed fee as an alternative so you’ll know the exact cost. You can choose whatever’s best for you.
Our estate administration service can help you to:
- apply for a Grant of Probate or Letters of Administration
- protect yourself from liabilities owed to unknown creditors of the estate
- protect yourself from claims made against the estate by those seeking financial provision under the Inheritance (Provision for Family and Dependants) Act 1975
- conduct the estate administration properly so the beneficiaries do not suffer any loss for which you will otherwise be held personally liable
- post-death planning using Deeds of Variation
- ascertain the extent and value of the assets of the estate
- arrange specialist valuations
- negotiate with HMRC over tax valuations and tax reliefs
- identify those who are owed money
- provide advice on Inheritance Tax and Capital Gains Tax
- prepare Tax Returns
- successfully claim available tax reliefs including Business Property Relief (APR) and Agricultural Property Relief (APR)
- successfully claim transferable nil rate band Inheritance Tax allowances
- pay liabilities
- close bank accounts
- sell or transfer property and investments
- prepare Estate Accounts
- make decisions and set up any trusts contained in the Will
- terminate nil rate band discretionary Will Trusts
- convert nil rate band discretionary Will Trusts into Life Interest Will Trusts
Ready to talk?
If you are not yet ready to talk, keep scrolling to read our FAQs about Probate and Estate Administration.
FAQs about Probate and Estate Administration.
When someone dies, it can be hard to know what practical things need to be done. After all, it’s an emotional time.
You’ll need to register the death and arrange the funeral. You should collect the Will as it may contain their funeral wishes. If you’re the executor, you’ll need to apply for a Grant of Probate but before you can do this, you’ll need to gather financial information about the deceased’s assets.
Our experienced Will and Probate Specialists can tell you exactly what needs to be done and handle as much or as little of the estate administration as you want them to, efficiently and sensitively.
Probate is usually used to describe the process of administering the estate of the person who has died.
It’s likely to involve dealing with their property, money and personal possessions.
If you’re the executor, it’s your responsibility to ensure that everything is done correctly. Being an executor can be a complicated role and they are personally liable which if things aren’t done correctly. This is why most people prefer to appoint a legal professional who is a Probate Specialist to deal with the estate on their behalf. This ensures that the estate is administered smoothly and efficiently.
How long it takes will depend on the size and complexity of the estate.
For most estates, it will take about a year to complete the estate administration in full although a Grant of Probate can usually be obtained within 3 to 6 months.
Delays may be caused because of negotiations with HMRC, difficulties selling a property or dealing with any claims or disputes.
A Deed of Variation, (sometimes known as a Deed of Family Arrangement), is a legal document signed by a beneficiary to redirect their inheritance to another person or to a trust.
You might use a Deed of Variation to pass assets to the next generation in a way that saves tax or for asset protection reasons.
The executor is responsible for the administration of your estate after your death.
In summary, this means they have to:
- Located and identify the assets and liabilities of the estate.
- Value the estate and report to HMRC.
- Apply to the Court for a Grant of Probate of the Will. Probate is a formal legal document that confirms the executor and gives them permission to administer the estate.
- Deal with the administration of the estate according to law by collecting in the assets, e.g. closing bank accounts, claiming on life insurance policies, selling or transferring property and investments.
- Properly identify the beneficiaries.
- Make sure all claims, debts and liabilities are received, assessed and paid if substantiated.
- Arrange the distribution of the estate in accordance with the terms of the Will.
- Prepare the Estate Accounts.
- Deal with Tax Returns.
If they don’t do this correctly, or if they mismanage funds from the estate, they are personally liable for any financial shortfalls.
Many people assume that dealing with Probate and the administration of the estate when someone dies is simply a matter of filling in a few forms and that they can save on legal costs by not involving a legal professional who is Specialist in Wills and Probate.
This may be true for low-value estates where the surviving spouse inherits everything and is the sole executor of the Will. However, even in the most straightforward of estates, there are pitfalls which can be very costly if things aren’t dealt with properly.
If you’re an executor you’ll need to think carefully about how to protect yourself from personal liability. You should think about the following issues:
- Who is entitled to administer the estate?
- What is a beneficiary has died?
- What if a beneficiary is bankrupt?
- What is a beneficiary is missing?
- What about unknown debts or creditors?
- Have you accurately completed the Inheritance Tax Account?
- What if there’s a dispute?
- What about gifts made during the deceased’s lifetime?
- How does joint property pass on death?
- Have you paid tax on income received and gains made on the sale of assets?
- What if there’s a Will Trust?
- What is the estate is insolvent?
To find out how we can help, call us today on 01884 216106, email: firstname.lastname@example.org or use our Free Enquiry Form.
Choosing the right solicitor or probate specialist.
We understand that it can be a bit of minefield trying to find the right solicitor or legal professional and knowing what to look for when making this decision. We have set out some key considerations below to help you with this choice.
Contrary to what many people believe, you do not have to use the solicitors that prepared and hold the Will. Like with any other service, you have a right to choose someone else to deal with the probate. What matters is that you feel confident in your choice of probate specialist as this will ultimately help the estate administration to go much more smoothly and efficiently.
1. Do you trust and get on with them?
It’s very important that you trust and get on with your solicitor or probate specialist and that you find them to be personable, understanding and sensitive. This is particularly the case in upsetting and emotional situations following the death of a loved one.
2. Do they take time to explain things well?
Make sure you do not feel rushed at the initial meeting and that you have the time to ask the specific questions you need to help you feel confident in your choice. From this initial consultation, you will often be able to get a good feel about whether or not that probate solicitor or professional is the right person for the job.
3. Are they going to be efficient?
You’ll be very thankful where you have chosen a probate professional who is efficient and responds promptly to your calls. Use the initial meeting and any follow up communication to gauge how efficient and proactive the probate professional is.
4. Are they actually a qualified probate specialist?
Find out if they are actually a probate specialist. Nowadays it can be almost impossible for general practice solicitors to do an effective job whilst having to work across a range of different disciplines with a general knowledge as opposed to specialist. Ideally the solicitor or legal professional you instruct should be fully STEP qualified which is the highest global accreditation for practitioners who specialise in family inheritance and succession planning.
5. Are their costs reasonable and competitive?
Most probate solicitors and specialist legal services undertake the whole process, from applying for probate to distributing the assets. The overall cost will vary according to the complexity of the estate and the nature of the Will. You will find that most solicitors and legal professionals will apply an hourly charge, based on the work involved and who undertakes it, within fairly narrow margin.
How we can help you
When you choose Gorman Legal for your probate work, you can rest assured that you’ll receive the highest quality service from a fully STEP qualified Probate Specialist who you can trust to carry out the job efficiently and effectively whilst keeping the costs down. We pride ourselves on providing a personal service that’s right for you.
Take a look on our Reviews page to see why our clients choose us over other solicitors and legal services in Cullompton, Tiverton, Honiton and surrounding areas across Devon and Somerset.