We are a City of London law firm based in the Middle Temple. We provide the very best contentious and non-contentious probate representation and advice. We obtain the best possible results for clients.
Our solicitors have the necessary legal knowledge and expertise to assist you in all Probate matters. We assist by guiding you through the process of probate and ensuring you obtain the best possible outcome.
We are able to help where you are:
- dealing with a friend or family member’s financial matters after they have passed away;
- appointed as an Executor of a Will;
- acting a Personal Representative of the Deceased;
- where you are to benefit from a Deceased’s estate; or
- obtaining a Grant of Probate or Letters of Administration in the UK.
What is Probate?
Broadly, Probate is the relevant authority required by the Executor or Administrator to administer the estate of the Deceased. The relevant authority is obtained from a surrogate court known as the Probate Registry, who will provide the necessary grant of representation.
Once the relevant authority has been obtained, the Executor or Administrator will have the necessary legal right to materialise the assets and distribute them accordingly and at the same time ensuring all the liabilities have been settled. Our advisers will be able to provide you with specialist advice and assistance in the process of obtaining the relevant authority and distributing the assets accordingly.
Advising Executors, Administrators or Personal Representatives
If you have been appointed as an Executor of a Will, we will be able to advise you and prepare documents to obtain Grant of Probate (if necessary). This will include preparing the relevant Inheritance Tax forms and the relevant Oaths for Executors and making an application to the Probate Registry for the Grant Probate. In addition to this we will be able to advise and assist you in distributing the assets and settling the liabilities in accordance with the contents of the Will. We will also be able to advise you on assets that do not fall as part of the estate.
If a friend or family member has not left a Will, then the next of kin will usually become the Administrator of the Estate or the Personal Representative of the Deceased. Should you find yourself being the Administrator or Personal Representative then we will be able to assist you in obtaining Letters of Administration, including assisting you in preparing the relevant forms to obtain the Letters of Administration from the Probate Registry. In addition to this, we will assist you in administering and distributing assets that fall within the estate in accordance with the prescribed rules known as the Intestacy Rules.
With the assistance of our specialist solicitors and barristers we will be able to advise and represent you in complex litigated matters concerning disputes in relation to the deceased assets and/or liabilities. For example, if there is a dispute with a Beneficiary or a dispute with another Executor then we will be able to assist and give you practical advice in obtaining the best possible dispute resolution. Our team of advisers will also give advice on any claims brought against the estate by beneficiaries or creditors.
What are the Intestacy Rules?
The Intestacy Rules are a set of rules which state how the estate should be distributed in the event the Deceased did not leave a Will. Broadly speaking, the Deceased spouse will be entitled to the ‘lion’s share’ and the children will be entitled to the residue. For example, where the net estate value does not exceed £250,000 the spouse will receive the whole amount of the estate. If the net estate value does exceed £250,000 then the spouse will receive a statutory legacy of £250,000, the chattels of the Deceased and a life interest in the residue of the estate, which would leave the remainder of the estate for the children in equal shares.
We will also be able to advise on situations where the Deceased did not have a spouse or children or any close family members.
Claims by Beneficiaries against the Estate
Our solicitors assist many beneficiaries who may have a claim against the estate. If you are entitled to assets under a Will or to assets by virtue of the Intestacy Rules then you should contact us immediately so that we can advise on any potential claim you may have against the estate.
If you are a beneficiary and you are concerned that the Executor or the Administrator is not distributing the assets in an appropriate manner then please contact us so that we can act on your behalf and ensure that you are receiving the assets that you are entitled to.
You may be able to apply to the court for relief if you were financially dependent on the Deceased prior to their death and after their death it transpired that the distribution of the assets (either in accordance with the Will or in accordance with the intestacy rules) would mean that there is no reasonable financial provision for you. You should note that in some instances there are time limits in which you can bring a claim against the estate; therefore it is vital that you contact us immediately.
What is an Estate?
When we talk about ‘The Estate’, we broadly mean the assets that belonged (or in some cases jointly belonged) to the Deceased prior to their death. For example this could include funds held in bank account, shares, property, and any other types of assets that the Deceased may have owned prior to death.
It should be noted that not all assets that were owned by the Deceased may fall as part of the estate. Some assets that were owned jointly between the Deceased and another may pass directly to the joint owner of the asset or some insurance policies may also not be included within the estate. For example if the Deceased had a joint bank account with someone then upon death, the funds in the account may pass directly to the surviving co-owner.
Our specialist probate advisers will be able to advise you on what assets fall within the estate and what assets are passed to co-owners through ‘rights of survivorship’.
Legal Advice on Inheritance Tax Liability
In some cases the estate may be liable to pay inheritance tax. Currently the threshold for inheritance tax is £325,000 (also known as the ‘nil-rate’ band). This means that the net estate value (the value of the estate after all the liabilities have been accounted for) that exceeds the nil-rate band will be liable to pay inheritance tax at a rate of 40% (or 36% if 10 per cent or more of the net estate is left to charity).
Our solicitors will be able to provide you with general advice on the amount of inheritance tax payable when administering the Deceased’s assets and if necessary work with specialist accountants to obtain specific inheritance tax advice.
Instruct Probate Solicitors and Barristers
If you have a probate matter and/or need to obtain a grant of probate in England & Wales or require urgent help in dealing with a Deceased’s financial affairs or if you need assistance in relation to a dispute surrounding the Deceased, we are able to assist. We provide expert legal advice from one of our team of leading Probate Solicitors and Barristers. Just call or email us now for a free initial case assessment; our team are waiting to help.
To contact us about your case please call us on: 0207 1830 529
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