Obtaining Probate and Will
Obtaining probate can be a very time consuming and difficult process. So where do you start?
Getting a professional help or DIY probate?
An important decision is whether you undertake probate yourself or get professional help. Understandably, a lot of people worry about the costs of getting a firm of Solicitors to help them. How much will the probate costs be and what are the advantages ?
We are a specialist probate firm of solicitors, and therefore handle probate cases daily. All our systems are geared towards providing a fast effective service but at a fair and reasonable cost. We always endeavour to provide an easy to understand fixed fee at the beginning of the case so you know exactly what the costs will be at the end. By instructing us we will deal with the entirety of the process from start to finish taking away the stress and hassle that probate can bring. We also believe that our service will mean that matters get resolved much quicker as by using a solicitor you don’t have to attend an interview with the probate registry.
Undertaking DIY probate can be fine if the estate is very small, but be weary of undertaking probate if the estate has a tax liability as frequently the Inland Revenue may well ask various questions whilst important time limits also apply to the filing of returns and payment of inheritance tax.
Is there are a will?
The starting point is identify whether the deceased left a will or not. This can be a difficult task if a will isn’t immediately located. Typically, we find that most wills are stored will a solicitor,, a bank or with the probate registry in London. It is critical that the original will is located, as this will be required for the application. You can check to see if a will is stored with the Probate Registry clicking here
Lost original will?
If the original will is lost then expert advice must be immediately sought, as specialist probate solicitors we can help. We have acted in numerous cases involving lost original wills, call our helpline on. 0845 2693571
Who administers the estate?
If a will can be located then the person with the responsibility for administering the estate will be the Executor named in the will, if no will exists then the administrator ( typically the next of kin ) will be responsible for administering the estate.
Identifying all assets and liabilities
A list of all assets and liabilities must be made, it is always best to write to all banks where the deceased had accounts as sometimes statements are not always sent annually for long term deposit accounts, utility companies must also be notified while if the deceased had a property it is always best to locate the title deeds to a property.
The application to the property registry
If you use a solicitor then as an executor you will need to sign an Oath and the will before a Solicitor. The Oath sets out the basis of the application and that as Executor you will collect in and distribute the estate in accordance with the terms of the will. By contrast If the application is made in person then the Oath must be sworn at Court following an interview.
In addition to the Oath, an Inheritance tax return must also be filed with the Court confirming the Inheritance Tax position of the estate.
Distribution of the estate : how long does probate take?
Once the grant of probate or letters of administration has been issued, then the estate assets can be collected and any liabilities paid. It is important to keep an accurate record of all the assets and liabilities as estate accounts must be completed at the conclusion, and these will be required when making payments to beneficiaries.
All estates vary in how long they take to administer, and much depends upon factors such as the size of the estate, the assets to be collected, and whether there is a property to be sold together etc. In our experience most estates take between 12-18 weeks as a general guide.