The upset of a family member passing is often exacerbated by the responsibilities of having to administer their estate.
Administration procedures can be daunting. Our probate team aim to assist you by making the process as straightforward as possible. Call Solomons Solicitors on 01202 802807 or fill in our online contact form to find out how we can help.
If you are looking for probate guidance in Bournemouth, Poole, Christchurch, or further afield, our solicitors can help with:
● Inheritance tax and completion of tax returns● Administration of an estate● Preparing estate accounts● Obtaining letters of administration and/or a grant of probate● Making post-death arrangements that reduce liability for inheritance tax● Distributing assets to beneficiaries
Probate is the process of dealing with the estate of someone who has recently died. If this person has drafted a will, an ‘Executor' will be named – this is the person with responsibility for overseeing the distribution of their estate. The legal process of probate involves collecting together the deceased's estate, paying off any outstanding debts, and sharing their assets in line with the instructions in their will. Many people will instruct a solicitor to carry out or oversee the probate process on their behalf to avoid any mistakes which could lead to delays or problems emerging further down the line.
If no will was left by the deceased, the rules of intestacy are used to determine how the estate will be shared. If there is a relative or friend of the deceased who is willing to sort out the estate, they can apply for a ‘grant of letters of administration’. This makes them the ‘administrator’ of the estate and allows them to value the estate, pay any debts and distribute the estate according to the rules.
In England & Wales, the estate will be divided in a particular order. If the deceased was married or in a civil partnership at the time of their death, their spouse will receive the majority of the estate. It should be noted that if the deceased had a surviving partner to whom they were not married or with whom they were not in a civil partnership, they do not have an automatic right to inherit from the estate. If no family members exist, the entire estate goes to the Crown.
There is no requirement that the person administering an estate is a qualified solicitor and some people choose to carry out this role themselves. However, this process can be complicated and time-consuming, requiring an understanding of the relevant legal procedures, accountancy skills, as well as dealing with all of the beneficiaries detailed in the will.
In many cases an estate may seem relatively straightforward only for complications to emerge on further investigation. Having an experienced probate solicitor involved from the earliest stage can help you identify any potential issues and address these accordingly.