Applying for probate
As solicitors, we are often asked why a person needs a solicitor to apply for probate and not just do it without a solicitor. The answer is that the process can be undertaken without a solicitor but often families would prefer a specialist service. Having lost a loved one and dealing with other matters such as arranging a funeral, many families don’t want the additional burden of dealing with the necessary financial institutes and the Court to apply for the Grant.
Some estates are straightforward particularly when all assets are left to a spouse in a Will but others have complications such as assets held in trust, the value of the estate being over the inheritance tax threshold or dealing with foreign assets.
If the deceased left a Will it is the responsibility of the executors to obtain the grant of probate. If the deceased did not leave a Will then the intestacy rules dictate who can apply for the Grant of Letters of Administration. Not every estate will require a Grant however a Grant will be required when there is property held in the deceased’s name that needs to be transferred or sold and/or if the deceased had savings and the bank holding the account asks for a grant of probate.
SPEAK TO ONE OF OUR PRIVATE CLIENT SPECIALISTS
If you need any further assistance please give us a call on 0151 480 5777 to speak to one of the team or fill in our contact form below and we will be in touch.
Contesting a Will – Probate Dispute
It is true that in the majority of cases where a Will is left the administration of the estate runs smoothly and the assets are distributed in accordance with the deceased wishes.
However, there is a misconception that once a Will has been made it cannot be challenged. This is not true. There are many reasons for disputing the contents of a will. Sometimes a family member will argue that the Will has failed to leave reasonable financial provision for someone.
There may be a challenge that the deceased was coerced into making the Will or lacked mental capacity.
In essence, if a Will has not properly been executed it may be invalid and can therefore be contested. If it fails to covey the true intentions of the deceased it may also face being contested.
Our skilled team have the experience and resources to make the enquiries on your behalf. Often contesting a Will is the most contentious of matters. Not only have the family lost a loved one but now there is dispute amongst the remaining family. This adds to the stress of an already stressful situation.
Probate and Estate Solicitors Liverpool: If you are thinking of making a Will we strongly advise that you do it with the assistance of a Solicitor. A properly drafted Will made with the benefit of expert legal advice is far more likely to stand up to challenge after a person is deceased.
NEED MORE INFORMATION?
CHECK OUT OUR Probate FAQS BELOW.
‘Probate’ is a term frequently used when talking about applying for the right to deal with a deceased person’s affairs. It may also be called ‘administering the estate’.
If the deceased left a Will then the person(s) named in the Will as Executors are responsible for dealing with the deceased’s estate and ensuring that the deceased’ wishes in the Will are carried out.
If there is no Will then the intestacy rules dictate who can apply for letters of administration. This is usually the surviving spouse, or if there is no surviving spouse, then the deceased’s children.
In order to apply for a Grant, you must first obtain the date of death balances for all of the deceased’s assets and liabilities. You then need to ascertain whether the deceased’s estate is subject to any inheritance. If the estate is subject to tax, this needs to be paid to HMRC within 6 months of the date of death.
Once you have the above, an application needs to be completed in order for a Grant to be issued. This is a legal document that allows the applicant to be able to deal with the deceased’s affairs.
The Grant can be used to collect in the assets of the estate and once collected in, must be used to pay any debts, funeral expenses, administration expenses and tax.
Finally, once the above has been attended to, the funds can be distributed.
Probate is usually required in most cases where the estate consists of one or more of the following items:
- stocks or shares
- certain insurance policies
- property or land held in the deceased’s sole name or in joint names as ‘tenants in common’
Probate may not be needed where the deceased left less than £5,000.00 and/or held everything jointly with someone else and everything passes automatically to the surviving joint owner.
This will depend upon the complexity of the case but it should normally be possible to apply for probate within three to four months of the date of death. If the estate is complex, for example, if it involves payment of inheritance tax or foreign assets, it is likely to take longer. If inheritance tax is payable this must be paid before the Grant will be issued by the probate registry. We are usually able to finalise an estate four to six months after obtaining probate. However, the matter may take longer for example, if we have to deal with the sale of a property, foreign assets, private company shares or complex tax issues.
Probate and Estate Solicitors Liverpool: There are a number of reasons why you might wish to instruct a solicitor to deal with the estate on your behalf:
- You will be dealing with the loss of a loved one
- There may be family disputes and appointing a solicitor who can offer impartiality and professionalism may aid the situation
- Executors are personally liable to the creditors and beneficiaries of the estate, therefore if you make a mistake you will have to put things right out of your own pocket. Solicitors are used to handling this type of work and in the unlikely event that they do make a mistake, they are insured.
- A solicitor will be able to provide professional help and guidance throughout the matter
We offer two levels of service
Probate and Estate Solicitors Liverpool: This is done on a fixed fee basis at £750 plus VAT plus disbursements, (please see below for a list of possible disbursements). You would need to provide us with the date of death balances for all assets and debts of the estate and we would prepare the probate application, arrange for you to sign the application and then send this to the probate registry for you. Once the Grant is returned to us you can then use this to collect in the assets, pay any debts and distribute the estate.
This is done on a time and costs basis. At our initial meeting we will provide you with a full costs estimate.
Common disbursements include:
- £273.00 Probate Registry Application Fee
- £1.50 Copy additional Grant
- £290.00 Statutory Advertisements in local paper and London Gazette
- £3.00 Official Copy of Title for Property
- £2.00 Bankruptcy Check per person
- £300.00 Probate Valuation for Property