When a loved one passes away, dealing with the emotional impact of the loss can be difficult enough without considering the legal work. If you have been named executor of the Will, you will be responsible for a number of tasks that must be carried out following a death. From registering the death with financial institutions to the distribution of the estate and the payment of Inheritance Tax, it’s easy to feel overwhelmed by the growing list of practical issues. At Pickering & Butters, our specialist probate solicitors are dedicated in helping executors through the process of estate administration. From straightforward situations to high-net worth estates and family disputes, our team are equipped with the experience necessary to help you through this challenging time.
Why choose Pickering & Butters probate solicitors?
At Pickering & Butters, we understand how difficult it can be to deal with someone’s estate right after their death. During a time that should be spent grieving and taking it easy, the last thing you need is a daunting to-do list. That’s why each day, our dedicated probate solicitors work to alleviate the pressure for our clients, providing comprehensive support through the process of estate administration to allow them the time and space to move on in peace.
Well known for our steadfast commitment to client care, our probate solicitors will always take the time to understand your unique situation before getting to work on the task at hand. Estates differ greatly not only in value, but the history and family members tied to it, which is why each case requires a unique approach. When you instruct a member of our team, we will allow you to make the choice of how much support you need through the process. While some clients will only need a helping hand or advice regarding finances, others find that having a professional tackle the entire administration process is useful in relieving them of the stress and pressure that surrounds the situation.
Each member of our team boasts specialist knowledge, not only in Probate matters, but also in Wills, Trusts and Tax. We encourage you to take advantage of this, and aim to be available when you need us the most to answer any questions or concerns you may have. Teaming a sympathetic ear with a determined approach, our probate solicitors are here to help every step of the way.
Transparency and openness are important to us when explaining our fees for this work, so you will always be clear on the likely costs before you go ahead.
How can Pickering & Butters help with estate administration?
Here at Pickering & Butters we appreciate the pressure that comes with being faced with so much to do at such a trying time. We offer an understanding approach, sympathetic advice, and a service that can be tailored depending on how much or how little you’d like us to do.
Our friendly, expert probate and estate administration team is on hand to help you with:
- Obtaining valuations of the assets and liabilities of the estate
- Preparing the Probate application papers and completing the HM Revenue & Customs forms required
- Paying any inheritance tax
- Obtaining a Grant of Probate or Letters of Administration from the Court
- Advertising for potential creditors to the estate (if necessary)
- Collecting the assets to the estate and paying any debts
- Selling any property
- Collating income tax information
- Distributing the estate to the beneficiaries
- Preparing Estate Accounts to show a full breakdown of the monies received and paid out
How long does estate administration take?
The process of estate administration can vary in length of time taken depending on how complex it is in nature. For example, if matters are straightforward, estate administration could be completed within 6 months. However, where disputes arise among family members or complications arise in the valuation of assets, the process is likely to take slightly longer.
After gaining an understanding of your situation, your dedicated probate solicitor will be able to provide you with an estimation of timescales involved.
What is an executor?
If you have been named as the ‘executor’ or ‘Personal Representative’ of a Will, you will be responsible for ensuring that the estate of the deceased is distributed in accordance to the wishes specified in their Will. Therefore, it will be up to you to ensure that each named beneficiary receives the inheritance detailed in the Will. The executor is also responsible for informing all relevant institutions of the death such as all banks and building societies where the deceased held an account.
It may be the case that you have been named executor alongside another party, and in fact, a person can name up to 4 executors within their Will. This can complicate matters slightly, as all executors will share equal responsibility. At this point, it’s up to you and the other executors to decide whether to appoint one sole representative or collaborate in the estate administration.
What if there is no valid Will in place?
If a person dies without leaving behind a valid Will, the laws of intestacy will apply. This means that it will be up to Statute to determine how the estate will be distributed. If the person was married, the first £250,000 of their estate will pass automatically to their spouse. Where there is no spouse, this will be equally shared between their children or descendants. If there are no children, it will pass to the closest living relative.
Having no Will means that no executor will have been named to undertake the estate administration. That means a relative or friend (generally someone who will benefit under the laws of Intestacy) of the deceased will be required to apply for ‘Letters of Administration’, allowing them to legally distribute the assets of the estate.
If this situation sounds familiar, you will benefit from the comprehensive, tailored advice of our specialist probate solicitors. Together, we will discuss your options and determine the best course of action in proceeding.