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Probate and Estate Administration

At a time of bereavement, probate estate administration can seem an insurmountable obstacle to the family accessing funds and beneficiaries receiving inheritances in accordance with the Will or intestacy rules. OTS Solicitors recognise that the loss of a loved one is a stressful time. Our team of caring and approachable probate estate administration solicitors offer a probate service providing practical and straightforward advice.

Wills and probate estate administration solicitors

For help with probate estate administration, please call London based OTS Solicitors Wills and probate team on 0203 959 9123 or contact us through our online enquiry form.

What is probate estate administration?

When someone dies their assets and property (known as ‘the estate’) are left in limbo until someone receives the legal right to deal with their property and possessions. If the deceased died leaving a valid Will then you can obtain the right to deal with the estate by applying for a ‘grant of representation’. If the deceased died without leaving a Will then ’letters of administration’ should be applied for.

If the deceased made a Will then their Will normally appoints people to be executors to administer their estate. The executors can be relatives, friends or professionals. If there is no Will then the deceased’s next of kin will be appointed by the court as administrators of the deceased’s estate.

Is probate necessary?

Obtaining probate and the legal right to manage a deceased person’s estate is not always necessary. If your relative has died without leaving a Will or if you have been appointed as an executor in a Will it is best to take legal advice from a probate estate administration solicitor on whether probate will be necessary, and if so, they can provide advice on probate estate administration.

How can OTS Solicitors help?

The probate estate administration team at OTS Solicitors can help you with:

  • Probate estate administration where the deceased made a Will;
  • Probate estate administration where the deceased died intestate (without leaving a Will);
  • Probate estate administration where there are overseas assets as OTS Solicitors  have a large international client base;
  • Probate estate administration where there are business assets as OTS Solicitors  can call upon the legal expertise of business solicitors in our corporate law  team;
  • Probate estate administration where the estate will be subject to inheritance tax or is likely to be free of estate taxes;
  • Probate estate administration situations where the personal representatives are facing a challenge to the Will;
  • Probate cases where it is necessary to change the appointment of the executors named in the Will;
  • Resolving any inheritance claims by family members or dependents who do not think that they have received reasonable financial provision under the terms of the Will or under intestacy rules;
  • Advising on the Will and the appropriateness of a Deed of Variation to change a Will. This is sometimes the best option because changing the terms of a Will by a Deed of Variation may result in inheritance tax savings;
  • Obtaining a presumption of death certificate;
  • Sorting out the creation and administration of any trusts created by the Will.

The list is not exhaustive. In a probate estate administration, there are many matters that can crop up. Using a probate estate administration solicitor who pays close attention to the details is best as they can produce results, such as saving monies on inheritance tax by using all available allowances or efficiently distributing the estate.

How do you apply for probate?

No estate administration is ever exactly the same but normally applying for probate involves:

  • Checking to see if there is a Will. If there is a Will the people authorised to sort out the deceased’s financial affairs are the executors appointed in the Will. The executors have the authority to apply for probate. If the deceased died without a Will the court can appoint relatives as administrators. Whether you are an executor or an administrator it can be best to instruct a probate estate administration solicitor to handle the obtaining of probate to ensure that probate is obtained as quickly and as stress-free as possible;
  • Estimate the value of the estate. The value of the estate is important as estates over a minimum value are liable to payment of inheritance tax;
  • Pay the inheritance tax. The calculation of whether inheritance tax is due after looking at potential allowances and reliefs available can be a complex calculation. For this reason it is best to get professional legal advice and help from an accountant, if required, to make sure the inheritance tax calculation is correct;
  • Complete the probate application form. The probate application involves completing paperwork and then submitting the application. If probate is granted the executors or administrators will receive a grant of probate giving them the authority to carry out the probate estate administration.

If an executor or administrator decides to instruct a probate estate administration solicitor then they can be as involved and as ‘hands on’ in the probate estate administration process as they want to be. Alternatively, if they are struggling to come to term with their bereavement and juggling family and work commitments they can leave things in the hands of their probate estate administration solicitor to sort out.

What happens after probate is granted?

The grant of probate is not the end of the probate estate administration but the start of it. The grant of probate gives the authority to act and takes the deceased’s estate out of its legal limbo when no one has the power to act or to dispose of assets.

The executors or administrators (or their probate estate administration solicitors) will need to:

  • Pay any remaining inheritance tax that is due on the estate;
  • Pay any debts left by the deceased;
  • Collect any property, for example, sell a property investment portfolio, a family home or shares;
  • Distribute the estate, either under the terms of the Will or, if there is no Will, under the intestacy rules.

Probate estate administration legal advice

Many people initially think that they can sort out the probate estate administration of a relative. However, they often do not realise that dealing with a probate involves obligations and personal liabilities for executors and administrators. That is why it can be best to take probate estate administration legal advice.

How OTS Solicitors can help

Our specialist team of probate estate administration solicitors can advise you on the probate estate administration process and take the worry away from you by providing professional and caring legal advice and support.

For a discussion about how the probate estate administration team can help you call us on 0203 959 9123 or complete our online enquiry form.

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