Probate & Estate Administration Solicitors

Expert Probate Solicitors To Support You When You Need It Most

Losing a loved one can be a very emotional and stressful period, and you may simply not know what steps need to be taken or be unsure of your responsibilities as an Executor to a Will.

After a death it is important to those who are left behind that the estate is administered with sympathy as well as efficiency, something we are more than happy to help with.

Probate FAQs

Probate is the process of estate administration. Estate being the collection of assets left behind, after all debts have been taken into account, when someone passes away. Essentially probate is the term applied to the whole process of settling someone’s estate, and the permission of carrying out the wishes of someone’s Will.

Executors are the people named in a Will who will be responsible for administering the wishes of the deceased in regards to the estate they have left behind. In most cases this will be a family member or close friend, but is also possible for a professional executor to be appointed; for example a solicitor.

Commonly, more than one executor is appointed, and together they will arrange all affairs, such as funeral arrangements and paying any debts.

In order to administer someone’s estate after they have passed away, you will need to obtain a grant of probate. This is the legal authority, or permission, to settle any affairs and distribute any assets to the conditions of the deceased wishes.

If you are named as an executor of a Will, you may need to apply for a grant of probate. A grant of Probate is an official document which the executors may need to administer the estate. This will be issued by the Probate Registry section of the court.

People who eventually benefit from the estate. They are either named in the Will of the deceased person or are entitled to benefit under intestacy laws. Beneficiaries don’t come to own anything until it is passed on to them by the Personal Representatives. The rights of the beneficiaries at this stage are to have the estate properly administered for their benefit.

In the high majority of cases, grant of probate will need to be obtained to act as the executor of someone’s estate especially when the person who has died left:

  • More than £5,000
  • Stocks and shares
  • Property or land
  • Certain insurance policies

However there may be some circumstances where probate is not required; cases of small estates and where no property is owned, or at the discretion of banks and other financial institutions involved. To find out, executors will need to write to each institution (e.g. banks or investment brokers) to inform them of the death and provide a certified copy of the death certificate.

This may be the case when estate left is less than £5,000 in total, or if everything was owned jointly with someone else; therefore ownership will be transferred upon their death. In other cases, some financial organisations, such as banks, may agree to pay funds to a Personal Representative without a grant of representation if the estate is very small.

If someone dies without leaving a Will, this is known as dying intestate. This makes the process of Probate more complicated.

The Administration of Estates Act 1925 sets out who can act as administrator i.e. who has the legal right to deal with the affairs of the person who has died. The chosen administrator will usually be a close relative of the deceased, if there is one. There could be more than one person who has an equal right to do this. Anyone who has this right can apply to the probate registry for a grant of letters of administration. This is an official document, issued by the court, which allows administrators to administer the estate.

There are some cases where the law says that more than one person must act as administrator e.g. when the person who benefits is a child.

Dealing with the affairs of someone who has died can take a while, as the Probate process is dependent on the complexity of the estate in question. It’s not unusual for the process to take as long as a year, possibly longer if things aren’t straightforward. Several organisations may be involved in the process (e.g. banks, insurance companies, building societies and HMRC), which can all cause delays.

The estate cannot be dealt with until all claims on it have been received. If individuals wish to make claims against the estate, they have six months from the date probate was granted.

These are some things that may affect the time it takes:

  • Whether the financial affairs of the person who died were in order
  • Whether the person who died had an interest in a business or a farm
  • What the person who died owned and where it is
  • What the Will or intestacy rules say
  • Whether there are any legal disputes e.g. claims against the estate or claims by the estate
  • Whether the estate is insolvent
  • Whether inheritance tax needs to be paid
  • Ensuring that all HMRC files are closed and also making sure that matters relating to income tax, benefits agencies and pensions have been sorted out.

Arguments between family members, beneficiaries or Personal Representatives can also cause delays. Any disagreements must be sorted out before the affairs of the deceased can be settled.

Sharing The Burden After Death

When someone dies, an executor or administrator deals with their estate. This might mean anything from selling a house and distributing the proceeds to paying debts and inheritance tax. It may also be necessary to obtain a Grant of Probate. When you’re also experiencing the emotional upheaval of bereavement this can seem complex and daunting.

As solicitors with experience of all aspects of probate and estate administration, we can remove the burden from you, completing the legalities and paperwork quickly and efficiently, taking care of everything on your behalf.

We will collect money owed, sell or transfer assets, deal with possessions, pay inheritance tax, settle other debts and distribute the remainder of the estate so everything is managed to the very highest professional standards.

Some clients choose to name us in their will as an executor or joint executor. It is something we are happy to do to give added peace of mind.

Wife comforting her husband

Contact WB Pennine Solicitors Today

Our probate and estate administration solicitors are empathetic and on hand to help you through the probate process whilst you navigate your bereavement.

Get in touch today, we offer fixed fee probate to ensure one less thing to worry about during this process.


This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy Policy and Terms of Service apply.