Our Probate Services
We have substantial experience in probate law and can help you with the legal work needed after the death of a loved one.
Please read on for further information about the Probate Services we can offer.
We work with local funeral directors to offer a bespoke service to a small number of local clients. We give our time without limit to offer practical and emotional support to you at this most difficult time.
It can be stressful and time-consuming to deal with all of the legal and administrative tasks required after a death. It is not always appreciated that executors and administrators can be personally liable for the administration of an estate. We aim to relieve you of many of these burdens and to make the task of sorting out your loved one’s affairs as straightforward as possible.
We will guide you through the steps you need to take in a quiet, professional and efficient way. Naturally we look after the legal and tax aspects of the administration of an estate, but we support you by explaining the technicalities in a straightforward way, keeping in regular contact with you during the course of the administration and relieving you of any anxieties you might feel about the process.
We also offer practical advice and help to bereaved people, such as advising you about benefits available and helping you to complete the relevant application forms.
You can come to talk to us here in Alcester or we will visit you personally in the comfort of your own home to take your full instructions and to explain the process.
When you contact us, we will arrange an appointment to discuss what needs to be done and collect any relevant papers in your possession. The first document we will ask for is the will of the person who has died.
If no will has been made, we will explain to you the process that applies on intestacy. We can then act on your behalf to help you to obtain a grant of probate or letters of administration. Unless the estate is very small, most organisations will not pass the person’s assets to you without this official document, which comes from the Probate Registry of the High Court. It confirms that you are entitled to handle the person’s affairs. We can advise you about what to do in the interim. As experienced solicitors, we can identify any problems with a will or with a bequest early in the process and advise you how to proceed.
A grant is not always required. For example, it may not be necessary to obtain a grant where a home is held in joint names and is passing to the other joint owner. If there is a joint bank or building society account, the production of a death certificate may be sufficient for the monies to be transferred to the joint holder. Some banks also release monies without a grant being produced if the amount held by the person is low.
We prepare and submit returns for income, capital gains and inheritance tax. We calculate the inheritance tax due (if any) and make arrangements for this to be paid. If inheritance tax is payable, then some, or possibly all of it, must be paid before the High Court will issue the grant - the Government does not want to take the chance that it might not get its money! This means that you will usually have to borrow the money, to be repaid out of the estate when it is wound up. Preferential rates can often be obtained by arranging this through us.
We then gather in the persons assets, obtaining valuations where necessary. We arrange to settle any debts of the estate from its assets and make any payments due to third parties. We deal with the sale or transfer of any property. We are experienced in and setting up and managing trusts, to safeguard the inheritance of any beneficiaries under the age of 18, for example.
We then sort out the estate accounts - on your behalf we keep a formal account of all the money you have received, paid out and passed on, including interest on any money held since the person’s death. All the beneficiaries are entitled to see this account.
Finally, we identify and locate the beneficiaries and distribute the net estate according to the wishes of the person, or the intestacy rules, as the case may be. We can also respond to any requests from beneficiaries to modify their share of the estate, if they refuse their legacy or wish to alter it.
Our probate fees
We charge at a flat rate based on the gross value of the estate, or a minimum fee, plus VAT. We do not charge by the hour - we will give you a fixed price quote at the start of your matter. The only extra charges will be for any disbursements or expenses we incur on behalf of the estate.
Our fees are normally paid out of the estate at the end of the process, before distribution of legacies to the beneficiaries. However, we ask to be paid on account of any expense we incur in administering the estate (such as probate fees or valuation costs).
We will also have to account to HM Revenue & Customs for any inheritance, capital or income taxes due on the estate. We will explain to you how these arise and how they can be funded.