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Probate

Probate Services and Administration of Estates

Fixed fee online probate applications and administration of estates.

Probate

At TP Legal, we understand that dealing with the Estate of a loved one following their death can add stress and confusion and take up valuable time at a difficult point in your life.

Our solicitors give a high-quality, personal service with expertise. We aim to take the stress away by handling matters throughout the process. We aim to provide our service with easy to follow language to enable you to make the best possible decisions.

What is “Probate”?

‘Probate’ is the process of dealing with the affairs of somebody that has died. If the person who died made a valid Will, the Executor appointed in the Will must apply to the Probate Registry for a ‘Grant of Probate’. This is an Order from the Court recognising that they are authorised to administer the deceased’s affairs. Where a person dies without a Will (known as intestate) a close family member (“the administrator”) must apply to the Probate Registry for a ‘Grant of Letters of Administration’ which constitutes their authority to administer the deceased’s affairs.

Grants of Probate and Grants of Letters of Administration are also collectively known as Grant of Representation. Executors and Administrators are also collectively known as Personal Representatives (PRs).

Before they can obtain the Grant of Representation, the PRs must establish the exact value of the deceased’s estate and calculate whether or not any Inheritance Tax is payable. Any tax (or a proportion of it) must be paid before they can apply for the Grant of Representation.

Once they have the Grant of Representation, the PRs can then close the deceased’s accounts, sell their property and distribute the proceeds in accordance with their will, or otherwise in accordance with the Rules of Intestacy.

People often contact us with the following particular questions:

Where do I start?

The first thing the family must do is register the death. This should be done at the local Registry Office within the borough or county in which the person died. The Registrar will give you a Death Certificate together with a form which will permit the funeral directors to make arrangements for the funeral.

What does a Personal Representative do?

Personal Representatives have a number of legal duties. These can seem overwhelming and burdensome but TP Legal’s probate solicitors are here to assist you at each step, and to advise you of your obligations. The duties include:-

 

  • Establishing the size and value of the deceased’s estate.
    • This will require contact with every organisation with whom the deceased has had dealings including insurance companies, banks, building societies, employers, share registrars and the Land Registry. Account closure forms, tax deduction certificates and probate figures must be obtained from the various organisations.
    • This must confirm if any tax is payable. If the estate has a value of greater than £325,000 (subject to any allowances or exemptions) tax will be payable at 40% on everything over £325,000. All assets must be declared to the Inland Revenue.
  • Paying the Tax.
    • If tax is payable some if not all of it must be paid within 6 months of the end of the month of the date of death. We can advise you on the process for accessing funds to discharge the tax liability or indeed to address the tax where there are insufficient ready funds to do so.
  • Preparing an application to the Probate Registry for a Grant of Representation.
  • Closing the deceased’s accounts and selling any relevant property so that the estate can be distributed between the beneficiaries.
  • Preparing a set of estate accounts that shows how the estate was administered.

 

Who is entitled to the Estate?

If the person who died made a will, the beneficiaries are those people mentioned in the will.

If the person who died did not make a Will, the beneficiaries will be dictated by law. Usually these will be the deceased’s spouse, children and parents, but the exact identities and the amounts that they will receive will be decided by the ‘Rules of Intestacy’. We can explain these to you and help you in ensuring that the administrator transfers the estate to the correct beneficiaries in the correct way.

What is Inheritance Tax?

Inheritance Tax can be quite a complicated area. It is currently payable at a rate of 40% on any estate worth more than the current nil-rate-band (NRB) of £325,000, however a number of exemptions and reliefs may apply. The rate may be reduced to 36% if 10% or more of the taxable estate is left to a charity. If an estate is worth less than the nil rate band, no tax is payable.

 

If you have any questions or need help with Probates or any other queries, please don’t hesitate to get in touch with one of our specialist team of expert solicitors.