Probate & Estate Adminstration
Don’t know which way to turn? Whether you need to apply for probate or administer an estate we’ll guide you along the right path.
GESols recognise that applying for probate or administering an estate after the death of someone close can seem unimportant, stressful and overwhelming, leaving you not knowing which way to turn.
When a death occurs, the assets of the deceased require distribution and there are many issues to be addressed and administrative obligations involved. This can be made simple when the deceased has left a valid will but can be far more complex if there is an invalid will or no will at all leaving assets to be distributed in accordance with the law.
At GESols, our dedicated team can provide practical advice on the immediate steps to be taken following bereavement, the administration of a will and other associated legal matters making the process as worry free as possible. Furthermore, we are able to deal with the estate for you should you so wish.
See our pricing Structure below:
|If obtaining Probate or Letters of Administration and no Inheritance Tax is to be paid.
|If Inheritance Tax is to be paid.
Obtaining Probate and Estate Administration:
|Value of the estate up to £100,000
|Value of the estate between £100,000 to £325,000
|Value of the estate between £325,000 to £650,000
|Value of the estate above £650,000
|Please call for bespoke quotation
The estate would also be liable for any disbursements incurred i.e. any costs payable to other organisations, along with any VAT they attract. In a standard probate matter we would estimate the cost of disbursements to be approximately £300.00, but again this is all dependent on circumstance.
Please note, the above prices will be applicable when probate is not contested. (If probate is contested our staff will provide you with a bespoke quotation depending upon the circumstances.)
GESols have sympathetic lawyers who can provide support and assistance. If you require support or guidance whatever your situation and you’re not sure which way to turn – contact us!
Consult with our Probate and Estate Administration Solicitors in Cheshire
Probate and Estate Administration FAQs
A Grant of Probate is a formal legal document issued by the Probate Registry. It authorises the Executors of a Will to carry out the administration of a deceased person’s estate. This can involve collecting their assets, discharging all liabilities, and distributing the net estate according to the terms of the Will.
If there is no Will, or if the Executors appointed in a Will are unable or unwilling to act, an application is made to the Probate Registry for a Grant of Letters of Administration instead. Both the Grant of Probate and the Grant of Letters of Administration are collectively referred to as Grants of Representation.
No, it isn’t always necessary to apply for a Grant of Representation. Small estates (assets up to a value of £5000) can usually be transferred without going through the probate process.
Probate will also not usually be required if the only assets in the deceased’s estate are jointly held property and cash.
You will not need a Grant of Representation to access the money in the account if you share a joint bank account with someone who has died. The bank will however need to see a death certificate before transferring funds into your name.
The process can be broken down into 5 main phases. The complexity of administering the estate depends on the complexity of the assets owned by the deceased.
- Identify the value of the estate.
- Apply for a Grant of Representation.
- Collecting the assets and discharging the liabilities.
- Preparing estate accounts.
- Distributing the assets.
It generally takes 16-20 weeks for applications to be processed by the Registry, although this varies from case to case.
The nature of the deceased’s affairs, as well as how complex they are, will contribute to the time it takes to administer an estate. Before executors can apply for a Grant of Probate or a Grant of Letters of Administration, they must gather all necessary information and make enquiries into the deceased’s affairs. It is typically expected to take up to 6 months before the Grant of Probate or Letters of Administration is granted, and can then take at least a further 6-12 months before the administration of the estate can be finalised.
The process can then take much longer if the estate is subject to Inheritance Tax. This is due to the executors needing to finalise the Inheritance Tax position, as well as them needing to obtain clearance from HMRC. The time it takes for administration will then be further prolonged if the Will is challenged, or if a claim is brought under the Inheritance Act 1975.
Probate and administration are similar in that they both grant access to the estate of a deceased person. Grant of Probate is issued to the executor named in the Will, whereas Letters of Administration are issued to next of kin in cases where the deceased left no Will.
The entire probate process will take longer for complex estates. The sale of houses or other property can take a minimum of 3 months. More complex estates will typically have to pay inheritance tax, or additional tax reliefs will need to be claimed. In these instances, there needs to be a full tax return sent to HMRC, and any taxes will have to be paid before probate can be issued.
A solicitor dealing with probate should retain sufficient funds to pay taxes, costs, and expenses of the estate. They can also be asked to make interim payments if it is likely that the estate will take some time to be finalised. HMRC often take some time to finalise the tax position, so it is recommended to retain some funds to pay inheritance and other taxes before making any payments to beneficiaries.
Any correspondence that you have received regarding a debt of the deceased should be considered as a debt of their estate, rather than a debt owed by the executor personally. You can often take a funeral bill to the deceased’s bank and they will settle it directly. Regarding other bills, companies deal with situations like this all the time, and often have dedicated bereavement teams. It is often unlikely for the bill to be settled immediately, and they understand that.
Any inheritance tax that must be paid can be settled by arranging payment through the deceased’s banks/building societies directly to HMRC, before Probate is granted. In the circumstances that the deceased lacks the liquid assets to cover the tax bill, we can provide guidance on alternative options depending on the circumstances.
Fees for probate solicitors’ services are usually paid directly from the estate, before beneficiaries receive their share. These fees are usually agreed with the executors at the start of the case. If funds are needed to pay costs, these can come from the sale of property or closing the deceased’s bank accounts.
Some of the examples of assets that are subject to probate are:
- Assets held in the deceased’s name
- Investment products
- Life insurance policies
- Foreign assets
- Business assets