In the difficult period following someone’s death, decisions have to be made about their estate and winding-up their affairs. If they have left a Will, their named executor will be responsible for dealing with the administration. If they did not leave a Will, a family member will need to apply to be appointed as administrator. At Blaser Mills Law we act on behalf of both executors and administrators to ensure estate affairs are dealt with quickly and efficiently.
Sensitive and sensible legal advice
We have in-depth experience acting on behalf of executors and administrators, particularly in complicated, high-value estates. We understand that it is a difficult time for loved ones and we pride ourselves on our sensitive and pragmatic approach.
By appointing us to deal with a probate or administration, you can be sure the matter will be handled efficiently, with assets protected and the estate passed on in accordance with the deceased’s wishes.
Because the process is often complex, we’ll guide you throughout to ensure you have a full understanding of every stage. Our solicitors are always available to speak to you during the course of a probate and we will keep you up-to-date so that you can focus on other matters.
What is Probate and what is involved?
Unless an estate is small, it is usually a legal requirement that a grant of probate is obtained after someone’s death or, if they did not leave a Will, letters of administration. Applying for probate to the Probate Registry is something we can deal with on your behalf.
The appointed executor or administrator will then need to carry out a number of tasks, in a certain order, to finalise the deceased’s affairs.
Firstly, assets must be identified and valued. Once this has been done, this needs to be reported to HM Revenue & Customs so that Inheritance Tax can be calculated and paid. Any cash gifts given by the deceased in the seven years before death must also be reported.
Once the Inheritance Tax has been paid, the grant of probate or letters of administration are applied for, then the deceased’s assets are collected in and debts paid, to include calculation and payment of all tax liabilities. Property owned by the deceased will also be cleared and sold if necessary.
Estate accounts need to be drawn up and the estate must be distributed in accordance with the deceased’s Will or, if they did not leave a Will, under the rules of intestacy. This is not an exhaustive list of steps and there are a number of other legal requirements that must be met.
How long does probate take?
The actual grant of probate is usually issued by the Probate Registry in around 2-4 weeks. The time taken to wind up an estate depends upon its size and complexity. As a rough guide, it often takes around 6-12 months, particularly if a property needs to be sold. Small estates can be dealt with more quickly, while complicated ones often take over a year.
Advising on complex estate administration
At Blaser Mills Law we are experts in the administration of complex estates and in dealing with complicated tax matters following a death.
We can advise on how to minimise Inheritance Tax liabilities, for instance by the drafting of a deed of variation. We also regularly make applications to HM Revenue & Customs on behalf of an estate for business property relief from Inheritance Tax.
If the estate includes overseas assets, we can liaise with authorities and lawyers in other jurisdictions to ensure all liabilities are met and that property is sold where appropriate and other assets collected in.
In the unfortunate event that a Will or trust dispute arises between beneficiaries, we are able to represent you, with the objection of reaching a swift and satisfactory conclusion.
At Blaser Mills Law we always offer a quality of service and breadth of expertise that allows our clients to face their challenges with confidence. As a result we often work with clients for many years as trusted advisers for all their legal needs.
To speak to one of our Wills, Trusts and Probate solicitors about a will or probate matter, Jonathan Gallop on +44 (0) 1494 781 360, emailing at firstname.lastname@example.org or filling in our contact form today.