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What is probate and what does a probate solicitor do?

Confused about the probate process? Graysons’ team of probate solicitors in Sheffield and Chesterfield answer some popular probate questions.

Last updated on December 28th, 2020 at 08:31 pm

What is probate and what does a probate solicitor do?

Probate is a term that refers to managing the estate of someone deceased. The process of probate often involves complex tax, administrative and legal work. While the Executor of the estate can carry out the probate process by themselves, it can often be a stressful, complicated, upsetting, and overwhelming process. Using a professional probate attorney will help ease the stress at what is already likely to be a distressing time, especially for those that may still be grieving the loss of a loved one.

Here, Graysons’ team of probate solicitors in Sheffield and Chesterfield answer some of the most asked questions about probate. 

What is probate?

Probate is the process of carrying out the wishes in a person’s last will and last testament once they are deceased, including dealing with their estate. This ordinarily means settling any debts, arranging for any inheritance taxes to be paid, and then distributing assets according to the deceased’s will. Probate is usually managed by the named Executor or Executors in the will, or if there is no will by the Administrator of the Will, in conjunction with a skilled probate lawyer, such as Graysons’ team of probate solicitors in Sheffield and Chesterfield. 

What does a probate solicitor do? 

A probate solicitor manages the probate process. An Executor of the estate usually appoints a probate attorney. While probate can be carried out by the will’s Executor or Executors, it can be a stressful, and complicated process, especially where there is a high-value estate which will be likely involve complex inheritance tax calculations, or if there are disputes surrounding the last will and testament and distribution of assets. In these scenarios, you should appoint a professional probate solicitor. Even if it is not a large or complicated estate, the time-consuming process and complexities of the probate process mean many people seek out the expertise of a probate attorney, such as Graysons’ team of probate solicitors in Sheffield and Chesterfield.

What is a Grant of Probate?

A Grant of Probate is a legal probate document that confirms that the estate Executor has the authority to administer the deceased’s last will and testament. This will include having the right to deal with the deceased’s finances, access funds and share out assets. Currently it takes around 8 weeks for a Grant of Probate to be issued once the application is made. To apply for Grant of Probate, you will need the original will, a completed inheritance tax form, and an official copy of the death certificate. A probate solicitor such as Graysons’ team of probate solicitors in Sheffield and Chesterfield will be able to apply for the grant for you. They will also be able to offer guidance on completing the inheritance tax form and other probate documents. 

What are the stages of the probate process?

There are several key stages to the probate process. A probate solicitor will be able to assist with every stage.

1 – The first step is to contact asset holders, such as banks, life insurance companies and pension providers. You, or your probate lawyer, will need to advise them of the death and request a valuation of the assets for inheritance tax. 

2 – Fill out and submit the inheritance tax forms. The form you or your probate attorney complete will be dependent on the value of the estate and whether there is any inheritance tax to pay. 

3 – Apply for the Grant of Probate (if there is a will) or Letters of Administration (if there is no will). A probate solicitor will be able to do this for you.

4 – Once the above steps are complete, a copy of the Grant of Probate or Letters of Administration can be sent to asset holders for funds to be released. These funds must first be used to settle debts and pay for any estate administration fees or taxes owed. Once all debts are settled, the estate can be distributed. 

How long does probate typically take?

It is difficult to put a time on how long the probate process takes, as it will be dependent on the size and complexity of the estate as well as if there are any disputes. Some factors that may extend the probate process include lengthy property sales, missing beneficiaries, and complex inheritance tax. If there is no dispute over the last will and testament and the estate is relatively simple, the probate process can be completed in as little as four to eight months. Using the services of a professional probate attorney, such as Graysons’ team of probate specialists, can help ensure a smooth probate process. A probate solicitor will have the skills and expertise to troubleshoot any issues that arise, ensure probate documents are correctly completed, important deadlines are met, and help ensure probate is carried out in as timely a manner as possible.

How long do you have to apply for probate? 

There is no official timescale in which you must apply for probate. However, it is wise to start the probate process as soon as possible. It is also worth noting that there are some important deadlines and timeframes that must be met during the probate process. This includes inheritance tax deadlines, which will result in penalties if they are not adhered to. Using the services of an expert probate solicitor will ensure the probate process runs smoothly and timeframes are met. 

What happens if there is probate without a will?

When someone dies without a will, it is known as dying intestate, and the deceased’s assets will be distributed according to intestacy rules. Ordinarily a close relative will apply to the Probate Registry for Letters of Administration. This is a legal probate document that appoints them as the an Administrator of the Estate, giving them the legal right to manage the estate and distribute assets when there is probate without a will. Sorting out an estate without a last will and testament is often more complex and can take longer, which is why you should seek out the services of an experienced probate attorney such as Graysons’ team of probate solicitors in Sheffield and Chesterfield. 

How can a probate solicitor help me?

Having an experienced probate solicitor carry out the probate process offers a seamless and simple solution. As an Executor or Administrator of the Will you will be legally responsible for ensuring that the administration of the estate is carried out correctly, including that the estate is correctly valued and distributed, and that the right inheritance tax is paid. Having a probate solicitor can take some of this burden of responsibility away from you and give you peace of mind that probate will be carried out in accordance with the law and that the deceased’s wishes set out in their last will and testament are correctly adhered to. You will also have peace of mind that if any problems or disputes arise, they will be dealt with and resolved professionally. If you need help with probate, contact Graysons’ team of probate solicitors in Sheffield and Chesterfield today.  

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