Probate’ is a term commonly used when talking about applying for the right to deal with a deceased person’s affairs. It is sometimes called ‘administering the estate’. This page contains information about what to expect if a loved one’s estate is in probate and a step-by-step guide to life after death from a legal perspective.
The administration of an estate can be a stressful, upsetting and time consuming process. It is the job of your solicitor to provide a service that makes the process as smooth as it needs to be. We will guide you through the process and help make your legacy as straightforward as possible. With the right planning and preparation you can leave one less emotional burden for your loved one when you have passed away.
Registering the Death and Obtaining the Death Certificate
The registration of the death is the formal record of the death. It is done by the Registrar of Births, Deaths and Marriages and you will find the address of the nearest register office in the telephone directory. When someone dies at home, the death should be registered at the register office for the district where they lived. If the death took place in hospital or in a nursing home it must be registered at the register office for the district in which the hospital or home is situated. In England and Wales, if it is convenient, you can go to a different office to register the death and the details will be passed on to the correct office. Note that it is a criminal offence not to register a death.
The death certificate is a copy of the entry made by the registrar in the death register and also obtained here. This certificate is needed to deal with the money or property left by the person who has died, including dealing with the will. You may need several copies of the certificate, for which there will be a charge.
Locating the Will and Arranging the Funeral
It is advised to locate a person’s Will before going ahead with a funeral. Wills usually state whether a person wants to be buried, cremated or otherwise. It is also advised as it may give other details of how the deceased wished their funeral to be arranged. Whoever organises the funeral will be held accountable for all costing; however you should be reimbursed out of the estate at a later date.
If there are no relatives or friends to arrange a funeral, in England and Wales, the local authority or health authority will arrange a simple funeral.As well as locating the Will you need to gather together all the documents which confirm the assets stated within the Will. These might include saving accounts, life policies, share certificates, premium bonds and pension policies. It is also necessary to gather any liabilities such as funeral expenses, mortgages and bills belonging to the deceased.
Establish who the Executor/ Administrator is
When a person dies, someone has to deal with their affairs. This is called ‘administering the estate’. The person entrusted to deal with the estate is the executor who will be responsible for administrating the estate. Those named as executors may need to apply for a grant of probate. This is the official document which the executors may need to administer the estate. It is issued by a section of the court known as the probate registry.
Inform all Necessary Persons About the Death
As part of our role in administrating the estate we will inform all interested parties who feature as part of the deceased’s official business. We would suggest that you notify all relevant persons known on a professional level as soon as possible.
These might include:
The deceased’s employer
Doctors and dentists
Any landlord or tenants
H.M Revenue and Customs
Banks, building societies and insurance companies
Any companies supplying the deceased with a service
Obtaining the Grant of Representation
A grant of representation is an A4 document with an official stamp in the lower right-hand corner. It shows the deceased’s name, address and date of death, the total value of his or her estate and the names and addresses of the personal representatives. The grant is proof that the personal representatives have authority to deal with the estate. Typically, it is required before the personal representatives can collect funds, sell property and so on. EAD can assist with obtaining this in order to make the probate process as smooth as possible.
The Three Types of Grant of Representation:
Grant of probate, if the applicants are executors appointed in the deceased’s will.
Grant of letters of administration, if there is no will, or a will but no executors are willing or able to act.
Grant of letters of administration with will annexed, if there is a will but none of the executors is willing or able to act.
Together, all three grants are known as grants of representation. They serve the same purpose: to prove the personal representatives have authority to deal with the estate.
When it is not necessary?
If an estate is worth less than £5,000, a grant will normally not be required. Sometimes, a grant will not be required for estates larger than £5,000, for example if there is no house, no shares and no more than £5,000 in any one bank account.
If a person dies without leaving a valid will, their estate will be shared out according to certain rules. These are called the rules of intestacy. A person who dies without leaving a Will is referred to an intestate person. Only married or civil partners and some other close relatives can inherit under the rules of intestacy. If someone makes a will but it is not legally valid, the rules of intestacy decide how the estate will be shared out, not the wishes expressed in the will.
The relatives of the deceased will inherit in the following order:
Children of the deceased
Parents of the deceased
Brothers or Sisters of the deceased
Step brothers of the deceased
Grandparents of the deceased
Uncle or Aunts of the Deceased
Step uncles or aunts of the deceased
Administrating the Estate
Following the registration of the death, and the birth certificates being placed into the possession of the executor, the next step EAD’s Probate team will do is to administrating the estate. This includes:
Determining the value of the deceased’s estate
Obtaining consent from the Probate Registry to administer the estate
Identifying and validating the entitlement of beneficiaries
Distributing the balance of the estate
Make an Appointment today and let EAD’s probate team can advise you on the next steps.
Funding Your Case
We offer a 3-tiered pricing structure for Probate work so you can see which tier applies to your circumstances and what’s included for that price.
Ask us for details.
Clear and open pricing is just as important to us as it is to you.
We understand that everyone has different needs, so instead of offering a one-size-fits-all pricing option, we provide pricing suited to your individual needs.
That means you don’t over or underpay, and you can pay the right fee in the right way for the service you require.
When you speak to our Probate specialists, we’ll take the time to understand your circumstances and the kind of help you need, as well as how you want to receive our advice.
We’ll then provide you with choices on how you may like to pay for and fund your legal advice.
Options will include:
A fixed hourly rate
A fixed quote for all the work
Applying for Grant of Probate, Collecting and Distributing Assets
At Simpson Millar, we charge on a time spent basis for acting in Probate matters. We charge in 6 minute units (10 units per hour). Charge-out rates vary depending on the fee earner acting for you and which office handles your matter.
The exact cost will depend on the individual circumstances of the matter. For example, if there’s one Beneficiary and no property, costs will be on average £2,500 excluding VAT and disbursements.
If there are multiple Beneficiaries, a property and multiple bank accounts, costs will be on average no more than £10,000 excluding VAT and disbursements.
We’ll handle the full Probate process for you. This estimate is for Estates in England or Wales where:
There is a valid Will
There is no more than one property
There are no more than 3 bank or building society accounts
There are no other intangible assets
There are 1 to 4 Beneficiaries
There are no disputes between Beneficiaries on division of assets. If disputes arise this is likely to lead to an increase in costs
There is no Inheritance Tax payable and the Executors don’t need to submit a full account to HMRC
There are no claims made against the Estate
Disbursements payable in addition to the above:
£3.00 to obtain an up-to-date office copy entries from HM Land Registry of the Title for a registered property
Probate application fee of £155.00
£5.00 Swearing of the oath (per Executor), plus a further £2.00 for each exhibit (for example, a Will and any Codicils thereto)
Bankruptcy-only Land Charges Department searches (£2 per Beneficiary)
£83.40 to enter a Trustee Act Notice in The London Gazette – This protects against unexpected claims from unknown creditors
Approximately £300.00 to place a Trustee Act Notice in a Local Newspaper – This also helps to protect against unexpected claims
Disbursements are costs related to your matter that are payable to third parties, such as Court fees.
We handle the payment of the disbursements on your behalf to ensure a smoother process.
Potential Additional Costs
If there is no Will or the Estate consists of any share holdings (stocks and bonds), there is likely to be additional costs that could range significantly depending on the Estate and how it’s to be dealt with. We can give you a more accurate quote once we have more information.
If any additional copies of the grant are required, they will cost £0.50 each and (1 per asset usually).
Dealing with the sale or transfer of any property in the Estate is not included.
On average, Estates that fall within this range are dealt with within 9-12 months. Typically, obtaining the Grant of Probate takes 16-20 weeks.
Collecting assets then follows, which can take between 6-10 weeks. Once this has been done, we can distribute the assets, which normally takes 4-6 weeks.
Fixed Fee Grant of Probate Service
We can help you through this difficult process by obtaining the Grant of Probate on your behalf.
How much does this service cost?
TOTAL: fixed fee of £600.00 excluding VAT.
This includes: obtaining the Grant of Probate.
Breakdown of costs:
Legal Fees £600.00
VAT on Legal Fees £120.00
Disbursements payable in addition to the above:
Probate Court fee of £155.00 plus £1.00 for two certified copies.
£5.00 Swearing of the oath (per Executor) plus £2.00 for each exhibit
£83.40 to enter a Trustee Act Notice in the London Gazette – Protects against unexpected claims from unknown creditors.
Approximately £300.00 to place a Trustee Act Notice in a Local Newspaper – This also helps to protect against unexpected claims.
Disbursements are costs related to your matter that are payable to third parties, such as Court fees. We handle the payment of the disbursements on your behalf to ensure a smoother process.
As part of our fixed fee, we will:
Provide you with a dedicated and experienced Probate practitioner to work on your matter
Identify the legally appointed Executors or Administrators and Beneficiaries
Accurately identify the type of Probate application you will require
Obtain the relevant documents required to make the application
Complete the Probate Application and the relevant HMRC forms
Draft a legal oath for you to swear
Make the application to the Probate Court on your behalf
Obtain the Probate and securely send two copies to you
On average, Estates that fall within this range are dealt with within 6 months. Typically, obtaining the Grant of Probate takes 16-20 weeks.
Our Probate Solicitors and specialists have numerous years of collective experience in delivering high quality work in all matters relating to Wills and Estate Administration. The team has members with particular expertise in high value Estates and Inheritance Tax matters.
Extremely happy with the outcome of my Personal Injury Claim and can only thank Paul McCarthy and his team at EAD Solicitors and also Tim Trotman my barrister arranged by EAD, for all their work and efforts on my behalf. As such I would highly recommend EAD to anyone in need of their service. Once again thanks to all involved.
Brodie Martin, Merseyside
Excellent, very professional, approachable when I needed advice. I would just like to say thank you to your staff.