Solicitors that deal with Estates and Probate, near you.
It's a truly awful time in our lives when a loved one passes.
To help in your time of need, MG Legal's local solicitors for Wills, Probate and Trusts, have put together a comprehensive list of FAQs to help make Probate applications and Estate Administration easier to understand for our clients, and for those who do not require the assistance of our expert Probate Solicitors when dealing with their loved one’s Estate.
For example, if the deceased's Estate is worth less than £5,000, you may feel that you can deal with this without legal assistance- although in our humble opinion, you should never really try to do this, without some form of legal help and assistance.
If you have any questions that our team have not covered below, contact our Wills, Trusts, Tax and Probate solicitors online, or via email to firstname.lastname@example.org.
What is a person’s Estate?
A person’s Estate is made up of all of their assets (usually those held in their sole name, or their share of any jointly owned assets held as ‘Tenants in Common’. You can read more about owning property as Tenants in Common, here). This is known as a person’s ‘gross estate’. You take this total figure, and take off any outstanding debts and other liabilities, including funeral costs after the person has died. This figure is the ‘net estate’.
An Estate can including all of the following assets:
Property and Land, including rental property, shares held in any property and a person’s main residence
Bank Accounts, Savings Accounts and ISAs
Art work, such as paintings and prints
Personal Chattels, such as household contents
Digital Assets, such as Bitcoin, music, film collections, publishing IPs
Books and book collections
Our Probate Solicitors would point out that any assets held jointly with another person do not usually form part of the deceased’s Estate as they will usually pass automatically to the surviving owner.
What is an Administrator of an Estate?
Our Probate Solicitors have explained what the difference is between an Executor and an Administrator of an Estate. Collectively, they are referred to as Personal Representatives. The Personal Representatives are the people responsible for identifying and collecting in the deceased’s assets and making payment of any debts that the deceased had, and then distributing the remainder of the Estate according to the terms of the deceased’s Will, or under the Rules of Intestacy.
In brief, the main difference between an Executor and Administrator is that Executors are appointed by the deceased to deal with their Estate, under their Will. Administrators are usually appointed by the Court (by making an application for Letters of Administration), based on their relationship with the deceased. It is important to note that if the deceased’s named Executor or Executors are unable or unwilling to act for whatever reason, for example, if they have predeceased the deceased person in question, an Administrator would need to be appointed.
To find out what duties the Executors and Administrators of an Estate have, read our guide.
What is Probate?
Probate is the legal process of proving that a Will is valid, and confirming that an Executor or Administrator is legally entitled to deal with the Estate of someone who has died. Probate actually refers to an Estate of a person who has left a Will, however, the process is similar if a person has not left a Will, and therefore, quite often, both types of Estate (with and without a Will) are referred to as Probate.
If a person’s Estate is worth less than £5,000, then you will most likely not need to obtain Probate. If their Estate is worth more than this, it will depend on the requirements of the individual asset holders as to whether Probate is required. If the deceased held a Property in their sole name or as Tenants in Common, Probate will be required to transfer or sell the property.
Are debts written off after a person dies?
There is a strict time limit to make any claim against an Estate, which is six months from the date that the Grant of Representation was issued. This time limit can only be extended in exceptional circumstances.
If you think that you should have benefitted from your loved one’s Estate, and you want to discuss making a claim, our team of Wills, Trusts, Tax and Probate Solicitors recommend that you seek legal advice as soon as possible, as any delays could prevent you from bringing a claim.
How long will my claim take?
The length of time that it takes to contest a Will can depend on a variety of factors; if the claim is finalised without needing to go to Court, it could take a couple of months, whereas if the claim has to proceed to Court to achieve successful resolution, it could take a lot longer.
You should therefore try to start any claim against an Estate as soon as possible so that, a) you do not run out of time to make a claim (they must be started within 6 months, as explained above), and, b) as a claim can take such a long amount of time, the quicker you can start one, the quicker it could be resolved.
Why instruct MG Legal’s Probate Solicitors?
When you are making or defending a claim against an Estate, there are strict and complicated procedures which must be followed. If you are unfamiliar with these procedures, timescales and the Court process, it is essential that you seek legal assistance, such as that of a Probate lawyer, to help make or defend a claim.
At MG Legal, our team of Probate Lawyers understand that it’s important to try and resolve any Estate dispute as quickly as possible, to prevent any unnecessary costs from being occurred, whilst ensuring that the agreement reached is acceptable to our client. Our team of Probate Lawyers provide our clients with jargon-free, clear legal advice. To discuss your claim, contact our expert team online, here, or give us a call at your local office.
How much will the legal fees cost?
Our team are transparent from the start of your matter about what it will cost you, and how these costs need to be paid. During the initial telephone call, our team will provide you with a quote for carrying out the legal work, as well as much information as possible about any additional third-party costs you may incur, such as Court fees.
At MG Legal, we also make the guarantee that, unless your instructions change, our fees never will; if we agree to charge you a fixed-fee, that will be what you pay.