Wills and probate
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When a person dies, they leave behind an entire life’s worth of money, property, benefits, and liabilities which must be sorted out.
We understand that administering a deceased loved one’s estate is a daunting task, particularly since you will be grieving their loss. Our solicitors, who are skilled in handling wills and probate, are on hand to take the weight off your shoulders as much as possible; using our legal expertise to make the process as straightforward and stress-free as possible.
The estate administration process differs depending on whether the deceased left a will or not. We can provide clear, uncomplicated advice in both scenarios, enabling you to make confident decisions about how the administration is conducted.
We also provide advice in relation to disputed wills and contentious probate matters. The vast majority of estate administrations progress efficiently without any issues. However, where disagreements do arise, for example over inheritance, grief and concern over losing what they think they’re entitled to can cause rifts between family members. We approach such issues calmly but practically, taking all necessary steps to resolve the matter harmoniously through negotiation and alternative dispute resolution.
Our wills and probate solicitors have extensive experience helping clients administer the estate of their deceased loved one, including:
Although the terms probate and estate administration are sometimes used interchangeably, while estate administration refers to the entire process of dealing with the deceased’s money, property, and debts, probate more specifically refers to the process of obtaining legal authorisation to administer the estate.
If the deceased left a Will, then Executors will be appointed to take on the task of administering the estate – usually this will be one or two of the deceased’s close friends or family.
The executors don’t automatically have permission to start accessing the deceased’s money and property. They must first value the estate, report it to HMRC, then apply to the Probate Registry for a Grant of Probate. We can assist with this, as valuing estates can be challenging, particularly if there are complex assets such as overseas property to consider.
If the deceased did not leave a will, the process is slightly more complicated. No executors will have been appointed, so, if a close relative wants to deal with the estate, they have to apply to the Probate Registry for Letters of Administration to become an Administrator.
Once an Administrator is appointed, they have the same responsibilities to deal with the estate as an Executor. The main difference is, the identities of the Beneficiaries and how the estate is to be divided will be decided under the Rules of Intestacy rather than set out under a Will. If there are no potential Beneficiaries then the estate passes to the crown.
You may not have to go through the probate process if:
The Executors or Administrators act as personal representatives for a person’s estate and are responsible for:
If you do not want to act as an Executor after being appointed under a deceased person’s Will, you can “renounce” your right to take on the role up until the Grant of Probate is granted. Alternatively, you can appoint someone else to apply for probate on your behalf under a Power of Attorney. Please feel free to get in touch if you would like further information about your options.
At Roythornes, we’ve served our local communities and businesses for over 80 years. Our biggest asset is our approachable and highly experienced team of lawyers and our only purpose is to utilise our legal knowledge to help you.
Several of our team, including Abbie Boon, and Carolyn Byrne, are members of the Society of Trust and Estate Practitioners (STEP), an organisation of legal professionals who specialise in family inheritance and succession planning matters, including Wills, trusts and probate, and estate administration.
In 2016, we became the first law firm in the Lincolnshire and Cambridgeshire area to be awarded the Customer Service Excellence Award. We’re also accredited by the Law Society in Lexcel, the legal practice quality mark for firms with the highest quality of client care and legal practice management.
Roythornes is independently regulated by the Solicitors Regulation Authority (SRA).