When a person dies, whether they have a will or not, the people who are responsible for their estate may need to apply for Probate. The application is made to a section of the court known as the Probate Registry. If granted this document confirms that they, the applicants, are authorised to deal with the deceased’s affairs.
If there is a will naming and appointing these people then they will be known as the executors and will apply for a Grant of Probate. If there is no will or the will does not appoint any living executors the applicants could be relatives (possibly a widow or children), beneficiaries or even creditors.
There can be a competing list of potential applicants which is why it is always important to get early advice on the steps that you made need to take. The applicants will apply for Letters of Administration in those circumstances.
If the deceased’s assets are small (under £15,000) then a Grant of Probate or Letters of Administration may not be required to realise the deceased’s assets. However, where assets are above this or include land or property then a Grant of Probate or Letters of Administration will be required. Even if there is no Inheritance Tax to pay the application must be accompanied by a tax return summarising the assets and liabilities and showing any Inheritance Tax due.The deceased’s will need to be realised and converted into money. After payment of the funeral costs and other expenses the deceased’s debts will need to be paid and what is left distributed in accordance with the deceased’s will or if they had no will the rules of intestacy accord to a strict order laid down by the state
Where there is a potential Inheritance Liability it is very important to get advice early on in the process, it may be possible to reduce the amount of tax due by careful planning. Assets will need to be valued, tax calculated and of course paid.
We can help you with this process. Whether you just want a solicitor to prepare the forms for you so that you can then deal with the assets yourself or need someone to handle the whole process including completing the relevant forms, collecting in the assets, paying debts and distributing the estate we can assist.
We offer a fixed fee for just completing the forms and reasonable hourly rates for managing the whole process.
Sometimes after a death disputes can arise between family members about the provisions in the will with perhaps relatives feeling that they have been unfairly treated. If you find yourself in or responding to that situation we can help you. We can advise you on merits of any claim and the steps that you can take to protect your position.
If you find yourself needing help with someone’s estate call 0161 429 7251 or email [email protected] to arrange a meeting with one of our solicitors who can help you through this difficult time.
At Higgins Miller, we are expert probate solicitors.