When a loved one, member of your family or a friend passes away, it is without doubt one of the most emotional times in our lives. Amongst dealing with how you are feeling and arranging the funeral, you may also have to complete the required probate process too.
What is probate?
Probate is a catch-all term that covers the formal process of ensuring that the estate of a person recently deceased is appropriately managed and that an appointed person (or persons) has the right to act on behalf of the deceased.
There will likely be financial assets that the deceased has left to certain beneficiaries, there may be financial debts to understand and so the probate process will ensure that all affairs relating to the estate are finalised before anything can be distributed.
If there is a Will, then the Grant of Probate needs to be determined by the court. This ensures that the Will is valid and that the executor has the appropriate rights to manage the estate.
If there is no Will, this is called intestacy, and the deceased’s estate is handled by an appointed administrator. The court will issue a Grant of Letters of Administration to the administrator which ensures they can carry out their duties.
How would a probate solicitor be able to help me?
Probate can be tricky to navigate. There are a number of legal requirements to meet in the probate process. Our experienced probate solicitors are able to guide you sensitively whilst ensuring that the process is followed efficiently.
A solicitor may be able to help you locate a copy of the Will, should you need help ascertaining where it has been filed. There may be a lot of information to gather when it comes to totalling the estate’s assets and we can also help to manage this information and analyse as necessary. Alongside these tasks, we can also help complete the HMRC form required for Inheritance Tax liabilities, pay any taxes on your behalf, pay beneficiaries and prepare any trusts or accounts.
What do I do if the Will or the estate is contested?
It is sometimes unfortunately the case that probate issues can raise disputes within your family or beneficiaries, or other people who have an interest in the estate.
Our solicitors work neutrally to ensure that should any part of the Will or estate be contested that the issues can be resolved effectively, to ensure the estate can be distributed in line with the deceased person’s wishes.
How do I pay for legal assistance for executing a will?
As administrator, or executor of the Will, you will be able to claim reasonable expenses from the estate, for things such as postage or travel. However, you cannot charge for your time. If you were to instruct a solicitor to work for the estate, then their fees would be payable by the estate.
Getting legal advice from a Kent Solicitor
If you have any concerns about any part of the probate process, it is important to reach out as soon as possible to ascertain how our team of probate solicitors can help you to navigate the process efficiently. Contact us today.