Intestacy: how we achieved an inheritance settlement for a stepchild where there was no will
We recently represented a child whose non-biological father had died without having made a will.Read more
Whether you are a beneficiary or the executor of a will, our team of legal experts will work closely with you throughout the whole estate administration process. We will provide you with comprehensive advice and support, carefully taking into consideration the specific requirements of the estate.
We will also guide you through the application for a Grant of Probate by dealing with the various forms and paperwork required for both HMRC and the Probate Registry. We will ensure the estate is properly distributed and that you meet all of its obligations.
If you have been named as an executor of a will, we will work closely with you to establish an accurate list of all of the assets owned by the deceased, both in the UK and abroad, as well as identifying any outstanding debts such as loans, mortgages and unpaid bills.
Where the individual has died without having a valid will in place, legally known as ‘dying intestate’, our experts will provide you with the support and legal advice required to administer the estate in accordance with the statutory intestacy rules. Click here for our article on how inheritance is determined for an unmarried couple where there is no will.
If you are also dealing with probate disputes then we may be able to help. Take a look at our contentious probate page.
Our probate solicitors and legal experts are highly experienced in dealing with all aspects of estate administration.
Their work includes advising on obtaining grants of probate and letters of administration, settling estate and tax liabilities and distributing estates in accordance with the terms of the will.
In the unfortunate event of a dispute arising between beneficiaries, executors or individuals wishing to claim against the estate, we also have a dedicated in-house Contentious Probate team who specialise in resolving will and estate disputes whilst minimising costs and risks and maintaining relationships wherever possible.
‘Probate’, ‘grant of probate’ or ‘grant of representation’ are the terms commonly used when discussing a person’s estate when they die. A grant of probate is a document obtained from the court when the deceased left a valid will and the executors appointed in the will need evidence of their authority to deal with the estate.
A grant of probate is not always required, for example, if the deceased had no assets or a small amount of money in a bank account.
However, it will always be required if the deceased owned property in their sole name, and sometimes where a property is owned jointly as tenants-in-common (where each joint owner owns a separate share in the property) or if the deceased owned a substantial number of shares or had substantial savings.
It is important to remember that an executor is appointed in the will and their authority to deal with the estate comes from the will. The grant of probate confirms that authority.
Each financial institution has its own threshold in terms of value that it will be willing to release to the personal representatives without requiring sight of the grant, if the deceased held assets above that threshold the financial institution will want to see the grant of representation to ensure that they are dealing with the correct individuals.
The role of an executor or personal representative is a challenging one and it can be a long and difficult process however, executors should be open with beneficiaries and consider making interim distributions from an estate where practical and appropriate. Sometimes executors do not fulfil their duty or are not forthcoming with information. We can help clients to obtain a copy of the Will (if there is one), once probate has been granted. If an executor is not co-operating and there are suspicions of fraudulent activity we can work alongside our litigation department to commence legal proceedings.
If the deceased did not leave a valid will then the laws of intestacy will apply to the deceased’s estate. These laws set out who is entitled to administer the estate (known as an administrator) and also who is entitled to benefit from the estate. It is not always the case that a deceased’s estate simply passes to their spouse or civil partner.
Once it has been determined who is entitled to apply as an administrator, an application for a ‘grant of letters of administration’ will need to be made to the court so that the deceased’s estate can be dealt with.
An administrator obtains their authority to deal with the estate from the court, unlike an executor whose authority comes from the will.
There are five main stages to administering an estate which need to be dealt with by the executor or administrator (also known as the ‘personal representatives’):
The time it takes to obtain probate is dependent on many different factors and each case is different but as a general guide, a straightforward estate could be finalised within three to six months.
Typically obtaining a grant of probate takes between eight and twelve weeks, collecting the assets should take between two and six weeks and distributing the estate to the beneficiaries would normally take between two and four weeks. If the estate includes a property that is being sold, that is likely to increase the length of time it will take to administer the estate.
“Although we had no face-to-face contact we built up a good relationship with Will Harper who we dealt with exclusively. He answered the phone personally and promptly and replied to emails usually the same day.”
“The practice has recently dealt with my late mother-in-law’s estate, probate, deed of variation and associated house sale. Despite covid, this went very smoothly with no issues and was carried out speedily.”
“Flint Bishop dealt with my late father’s estate and land registry transfer in a very professional manner. Over the last year despite the virus restrictions, all communication by post and email was clear, concise and very efficient. A very satisfactory service was delivered.”
“This is a very professional company. Came to use them for my mother’s will on her passing and had the pleasure of Amelia Carruthers dealing with everything. She made the experience a lot less stressful and was always there to help on any issues. In fact so impressed, they have done our wills and powers of attorney and again fully explained everything. Well worth paying that bit extra for a quality service.”
“I have used Flint Bishop’s services on several occasions for various issues. My contact there, Shirley Illston, over the last 24 years has helped me in difficult times, when I needed good legal advice quickly. I would recommend their services for any legal assistance you require without hesitation.”
“Amelia’s expertise, together with her compassion, understanding and appreciation of the challenges we faced as a family following two very close bereavements, meant we did not have to worry about managing the affairs of the estates involved. Amelia’s passion for helping people and her caring nature really shone through, and this took a huge weight off our shoulders regarding the estate, at a time when we were consumed with grief. Outstanding from start to finish.”
The Barry Family
“Excellent service, have recommended you to friends.”
“Very impressed with the response I received from start to finish.”
“My mum, brother and I consulted Flint Bishop last July after my father passed away. My parents Will was made with Flint Bishop so it seemed right that we would consult them when my father passed away. It was a scary time for me, as my mum relied heavily on me to deal with the aftermath of my fathers death, funeral, Will etc. but Flint Bishop totally took the worry and strain away. Wwe dealt with Samuel Balmbra and from the start of the consultation he was professional and honest. We knew exactly the cost involved and what was happening at every stage. He made something daunting for us seem very simple. I would recommend Flint Bishop and I will use them again if and when the time arises.”
“Very professional and efficient and went way beyond our expectations.”
“We found Will Harper to be very helpful in dealing with my aunt’s Will and the sale of her property especially under the current COVID restrictions. If we had any questions they were always answered promptly and all has gone through very quickly.”
“Will Harper provided advice to me in relation to my mother’s Grant of Probate which was very complexed. I feel extremely fortunate to have had Will to guide me through this process at an extremely difficult and distressing time of my life. Will’s response to my enquiries was immediate, he always displayed compassion to my personal situation and would explain things in a way I could understand. Having not gone through the procedure before I had lots of questions and Will always took the time to listen to my concerns and I never felt rushed. This isn’t always the service you get with solicitors, however, after every contact I had with Will I felt more reassured. I have already recommended Will to a close friend and will continue to recommend his exemplary service.”
“Flint Bishop routinely acts on tax planning for high-net-worth individuals, and it also covers wills, estate administration, probate, trusts, Court of Protection and elderly client matters. Led by Claire Rudkin, the practice is increasingly active in cross-border matters and represents business owners, entrepreneurs and farmers, among others.”
For more information and advice on probate, please contact us on 01332 226 162 or complete the form below.
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