Probate and estate administration

Our probate and estate administration legal services are designed to ease the burden on you at a very difficult time in your life.

When a person dies, regardless of whether they have left a Will, someone will need to deal with the assets and personal effects they have left behind (their estate). This process is called estate administration and it covers all activities relating to the valuation, collection and distribution of the estate of the deceased. It includes all the required tax, legal and administrative activities. There is a great deal of paperwork involved, regardless of whether or not there is a Will involved.

An executor or administrator will need to be appointed to deal with this process. If the deceased left a Will, it is likely they will have named the person who they wish to be the executor. If an executor has been appointed in the Will they will usually need to apply to the Courts to obtain the rights to deal with the deceased’s estate. This is called the Grant of Probate.

Probate will need to be applied for in the following situations:

  • When the deceased held property solely in their name, or jointly as a tenant in common
  • When the deceased held assets worth £5,000 or more with financial institutions (this threshold maybe higher with some organisations)
  • When the financial institutions holding assets in the sole name of the deceased require a Grant of Probate for the funds to be released (i.e.:life policies, pensions)
  • Where the deceased held stocks and shares
  • When the deceased benefited from a Trust during their lifetime
  • If the deceased died intestate

If there is no Will (or the Will does not name any executors or the executors are unwilling or unable to act), an administrator will need to apply to the Courts for ‘letters of administration’, which will give them the right to deal with the estate. If the Will does not name any executors, persons named as beneficiaries in the Will have the right to apply to act as administrator. If there is no Will, then the closest relatives — who will inherit under the rules of intestacy — can apply to take on the role of estate administrator.

Estate administration involves identifying the deceased’s assets and debts, collecting any money owed to the deceased, paying off creditors, paying any necessary inheritance tax and sharing out the deceased’s money, property and belongings.

Estate administration can be complex, particularly if the estate is large or complicated, there are unknown creditors, or there is likely to be any kind of a dispute. Executors have significant responsibilities and potential liabilities: for example, if they start distributing assets before repaying debts they might be held personally responsible.

Our probate and estate administration legal services are designed to ease the burden on you at a very difficult time in your life. Not only can we complete all the legalities and tax issues for you but we can also manage the complex paperwork side of things as well. At all times we will liaise with you and keep you updated with a professional yet sensitive approach. We can do as little as you want or as much as you want. We will keep in regular contact with you so you know what is happening at all times, and we can also visit you at your home if this makes the process easier for you (we do not charge for home visits).

We appreciate that you will still be coping with the loss of your loved one, so we always work sensitively and explain everything in clear and simple terms. We also have a clear pricing structure, so there are no hidden costs and you’ll know exactly what you need to pay.

Most law firms also charge a value element on top of their fees, which may be as much as a further 1.5% of the estate. Banks typically charge 8% of the estate if they are the executors. Therefore a standard estate of £300,000 could cost you up to a further £4,500 – £24,000.

JC Solicitors never charge a value element. You pay the price we quote, with no hidden charges.

How much will legal services relating to probate and estate administration cost?

If you are looking for advice or assistance regarding probate and estate administration, we offer a free 30-minute initial consultation with no obligation. During this meeting we will discuss our service and wherever possible, we will offer a fixed fee so that you know exactly what your costs will be from the outset.

Click here to arrange your free 30-minute consultation, or call our Alton office on 01420 544273 or our Chichester office on 01243 850860.