When a loved one passes away, dealing with their estate can seem like a daunting task. Our highly experienced probate solicitors are here to offer the sensitive, practical support you need to make things easier at this difficult time.
What is Probate?
Probate is the legal process of dealing with the affairs of someone who has passed away. It can be a lengthy and sometimes stressful process, placing a lot of responsibility on the person dealing with the deceased’s estate.
If you need to administer a loved one’s estate, you will need to apply for the right to do so, either with a Grant of Probate (if you are named as an Executor in the Will) or Letters of Administration (if there is no Will).
You will then be responsible for various duties, including having the estate valued, selling the deceased’s home and other property if required, paying any Inheritance Tax due and distributing any bequests set out in the Will.
How our probate solicitors can help you
You might simply need a little help with the administrative side of things, such as lodging the Will with the local probate office, or making sure the right Inheritance Tax is paid. We can offer the friendly, straightforward guidance you need to ensure your duties as an Executor of estate administrator are carried out property.
Alternatively, you might want us to take charge of the whole probate process for you. This can allow you to focus on grieving and supporting your loved ones, safe in the knowledge that every aspect of probate has been handled the right way, giving you complete peace of mind.
Whatever help and support you need, our considerate, expert probate solicitors are here for you.
Get in touch with our probate solicitors in Bristol
To speak to our specialist probate solicitors in Bristol, contact us on 0117 905 9763 or complete our online enquiry form.
How do you obtain Grant of Probate?
You can apply by post or online and will need to fill out a probate application form (PA1) and send this with the appropriate supporting documents.
If the deceased left a Will, you will need to include the following with your probate application:
- The original Will
- Any additions to the Will (codicils)
- 2 copies of the signed Will and any codicils
- The death certificate (or an interim death certificate from a coroner)
How do you obtain probate when there is no Will?
If there is no Will, then you will need to apply for Letters of Administration. The process is essentially the same as applying for Grant of Probate, although you can only apply by post.
How long does probate take?
This will depend on how complex the estate is and any specific issues that arise, but probate will typically take around 6-9 months for most straightforward estates.
How much does Grant of Probate cost?
There is an application fee of £155 when applying for Grant of Probate, however, estates valued at less than £5,000 are exempt from this fee.
Can you stop probate?
You can stop a probate application by ‘entering a caveat’. This means that you lodge a signed application for a caveat with your local Probate Registry, including the name, date of death and last address of the deceased.
Once you have entered a caveat, nobody will be able to obtain grant of probate or letters of administration for the next 6 months or until the caveat is withdrawn by the person who entered it.
It costs £20 to enter a caveat and it can be renewed when the original six months is due to end if required.
Do you always need to go through probate?
Probate may not be needed if the deceased’s combined assets are worth less than £5,000.
Probate may also not be needed where the deceased assets are held jointly with someone else, such as a spouse, who has survived them. For example, if a married couple own their home as joint tenants, when one of them dies it will automatically pass to the surviving spouse without the need for probate.
However, in almost all other cases, probate is required, so we strongly advise getting in touch with our probate team to check whether probate is needed whatever your circumstances to make sure you follow the inheritance rules correctly.
How long after probate is granted should it take to receive an inheritance?
This will depend on the circumstances, but around 6-9 months is common for straightforward estates where there are no unexpected complications. It may take longer, however, if the deceased’s home and other assets need to be sold in order to divide their estate in accordance with their wishes.
Do you need a solicitor for probate?
In theory, you can administer an estate yourself, but there are a number of advantages to using a solicitor for probate, including:
- Giving you the peace of mind that an expert is handling the process
- Minimising the risk of any errors or other avoidable delays
- Providing related services, such as handling the sale of the deceased’s home
- The solicitor can be held responsible if any errors are made e.g. with paying inheritance tax or valuing the estate
- Having the protection of the solicitor’s professional indemnity insurance if they make an error
Can an Executor of a Will be a beneficiary?
It is normal a perfectly legal for the Executor to also be a beneficiary. This is because people usually chose a close relative or trusted friend to be their Executor and they are also likely to want to leave a bequest to that person.
Can one Executor act without the other?
If there is more than one person acting as Executor, they will all need to agree on any actions they take in administering the deceased’s estate. This can cause conflicts if the Executors cannot agree on how to proceed.
This is one of the reasons many people choose to name a solicitor as an Executor, as they can provide trained, neutral advice on how to handle probate. A specialist probate solicitor can also be essential for mediating Executor disputes, allowing you to keep the probate process on track and ensure the deceased’s wishes are respected.
Who inherits if there is no Will?
This will depend on the value of the estate and what living relatives the deceased has.
If the estate is worth £250,000 or less and the deceased has a living spouse or civil partner, they will inherit the whole estate. If they do not have a living spouse or civil partner, the estate will be split evenly between any children of the deceased. If they have no living children either, other relatives, such as grandchildren, parents and siblings may be able to inherit.
If the estate is worth more than £250,000, a living spouse or civil partner will inherit the first £250,000, plus 50% of anything over £250,000. Any living children would then split the remainder of the estate.
Our probate expertise
We support clients from all over England and Wales with every part of probate. Whether you need a little help sorting out a straightforward estate or are struggling to deal with more complex issues, we have the assured expertise you need.
Our team aim is to make working with us as convenient as possible, so we are happy to speak to you face-to-face, over the phone, via email or using video conferencing. We will be happy to visit you in your home, nursing home or in hospital if required.
Many of our team are members of the Society of Trust and Estate Practitioners (STEP) and several hold the STEP Advanced Certificate in advising vulnerable clients. This means that, no matter your needs, we can provide the right support for you.
Our customers consistently provide positive feedback about our customer service, with more than 70% of our business coming via referrals from existing clients.
We are Lexcel accredited by the Law Society, reflecting the strength of our practice management and customer care, and we are independently regulated by the Solicitors Regulation Authority (SRA).
Contact our probate lawyers in Bristol
Whether you need some advice and support to make dealing with a loved one’s estate easier, or want us to handle the whole process for you, our probate solicitors in Bristol and South Gloucestershire are here for you.
Speak to one of our expert probate team now by calling 0117 905 9763 or completing our online enquiry form
Your role + responsibilities as Executor
The Executor has an important role to play in administering the Will, so make sure you're aware of your duties and responsibilities.