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Probate frequently asked questions

Losing someone we love is always difficult. On top of the emotional aspect, dealing with someone’s estate, including their finances, property and taxes can be a daunting prospect.

The administration of an estate can often be a time consuming and complex process. Larger estates involving property and investments will clearly take more work to deal with and even smaller estates can be difficult, depending on the record keeping of the deceased.

Here at Palmers can help you by removing the burden of the legal work during this difficult time. We deal with all types of estates, from the straightforward to the most complex and we will ensure that the wishes of the deceased are carried out as quickly and efficiently as possible.

Contact us and we will be happy to assess your situation and provide you with an estimate for the work to be carried out.

Below are some of the questions we are most commonly asked about estates and probate. Click on a link to jump to that question.

What is probate?

When a person dies it is necessary for someone to apply for grant of representation to enable them to deal with the person's affairs. This is usually a family member.

Probate is the legal term commonly used to mean applying for the right to deal with a deceased person's estate.

Dealing with a deceased estate will involve the distribution of whatever property and financial assets exist, in accordance with the will or, where no will exists, following the laws of intestacy.

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What if the deceased left a will?

If the deceased left a will, executors will be named in the will and they will be responsible for carrying out the wishes of the deceased.

The executors have to apply to the probate registry for grant of probate which is a legal document contact usconfirming that the executors have the legal right to deal with the deceased's affairs.

Grant of probate is a document which is required to deal with the person's property, finances and possessions.

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What if the deceased did not leave a will?

When someone dies without having left a valid will, they are said to have died intestate. When someone dies intestate a relative will have to apply to the probate registry for grant of letters of administration; which gives them the legal authority to deal with the person's estate.

Here at Palmers we can deal with applying for grant of probate or grant of letters of administration on your behalf.

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Is probate always required when someone dies?

Probate is not always necessary. As a general guide, a grant of probate is not required when everything the deceased owned was held in joint names with their spouse and the spouse is the sole beneficiary.

In addition, it is also not normally necessary to apply for grant of probate when the deceased has an estate of low total value, for example a bank account containing less than £5000. If the deceased held shares or substantial savings or a property then grant of probate is always required.

It is important to always seek legal advice to ascertain if this applies to you and to avoid any legal problems as a result of not applying for grant when it may be required.

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What is involved in administration of a deceased estate?

Some estates are clearly larger and more complex. They may include property, money in the form of bank accounts, investments and pensions as well as personal possessions of high value.

Dealing with the administration of an estate can be time consuming and complex, depending oncontact us the size and complexity of the person's affairs.

Initially, the deceased's assets and liabilities need to be valued, their debts settled and their position calculated for income tax and inheritance tax purposes. Assets such as savings, investments, shares, property and insurance policies all need to be taken into account to enable the estate to be dealt with properly and the assets distributed to beneficiaries.

For any large of complex estate, we would always advise contacting one of our specialist solicitors for advice, as trying to go it alone can often result in mistakes being made. Please contact us for more information.

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