Probate and Administration of Estates Solicitors

Need a specialist team to help with the administration of an estate?

The process of probate and estate administration in England and Wales can seem complex and overwhelming, especially during a time of grief and loss. However, understanding the steps involved and seeking professional guidance can make the process much more manageable.

BTMK are experts in this field and members of The Society of Trust and Estate Practitioners (STEP). We can provide the entire range of estate administration services and we’ll work alongside you throughout the process. If you feel comfortable dealing with specific aspects, we can be there as support, or we can deal with any elements where you want specialist legal advice.

Our probate and estate administration specialists can help, whatever the size of the estate and whether the deceased died intestate or left a Will that needs to be distributed. We make the probate and estate administration process as simple and as stress-free as possible.

For example, our legal professionals can:

Our expert residential property law department can support you with any consequential sale, helping you move quickly and with minimal disruption. 

If the estate includes a business, our company and commercial solicitors can provide you with the best advice possible.

What is a Grant of Probate?

A Grant of Probate is a legal document that confirms the validity of a deceased person’s will and allows the appointed executor to manage and distribute the deceased’s assets and settle any outstanding debts, in accordance with the instructions in the will. 

You are obliged to carry out this duty if you are named as an executor.

The Executor 

The executor is the person or persons named in the deceased’s will and chosen to carry out their wishes and manage the estate. 

If there is no will, known as being intestate, or no executor is appointed, the court will need to appoint an administrator to handle the estate. If a loved one passed away without leaving a will we can help you apply for Letters of Administration, giving you the legal power to administrate the estate. There are strict rules around the order of priority for those who want to apply to administer an estate. 

Challenges in the Probate Process

The probate and estate administration process can have many challenges, including:

Specialist Help and Support at BTMK

The BTMK specialists can help with the potential complexities and challenges of probate and estate administration. 

Our experts provide specialised probate services can provide invaluable assistance in all areas of probate including navigating the process, completing the paperwork, ensure compliance with legal requirements and offer expertise in tax planning and asset valuation.

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What happens if no executor(s) are named in a Will?

If no executor(s) are named in a Will, then somebody else will need to formally apply to the Probate registry to administer an estate and pay any debts owed. If there is a valid Will in place, a beneficiary named in the Will can apply to act as an administrator to legally distribute an estate. If there is no valid Will, relatives will usually be entitled to inherit and can make an application to administer the estate themselves. There is a set order to who can apply for probate and therefore, it’s important to seek advice from a probate solicitor

When Does Inheritance Tax Need to Be Paid?

Inheritance tax is only required to be paid if the value of the estate is more than the inheritance tax threshold. Any tax will become due at the end of the sixth month following a death. For example, if a death occurred in July, then the tax will need to be paid at the end of January. If there is property or if certain assets are proving hard to sell such as a company interest, then you can opt to pay inheritance tax in instalments. 

What do I do if I am named as an executor, but don't want to act as one?

If you have been named as an executor, but you’ve not already started administering an estate, you are able to renounce your executorship if you don’t wish to act. If more than one executor is named in a Will, there is a solution where you can apply to have “power reserved”. This means that you can leave the other executors to administer the estate but reserve the right to take out a grant of probate. 

How do I know if a Will is legally valid?

A Will is legally valid if it is made in writing, by a Testator of sound mind and over the age of 18 and signed by them in the presence of two independent witnesses who have also signed after to confirm their presence. If you are unsure whether a loved one’s Will (or yours) is legally valid, we recommend seeking professional advice from an experienced probate solicitor.

What happens if there is an error in the Will?

This entirely depends on the type of error that has been made by the person who died. The courts have the power to rectify an error that is clerical in nature. For example, if there are missed words or spelling mistakes. Errors relating to the intentions of those who made the Will cannot be rectified or changed. For example, if someone forgot to include a beneficiary in their Will (or part of the estate plans), it cannot be altered. Some errors may be immaterial and therefore, you should contact a probate solicitor if you notice an error to discuss it further.

What happens if I have a copy of a Will but not the original?

Before issuing a Grant of Probate, the Probate registry will request the original Will and two copies. However, sometimes it is possible to apply for a Grant of Probate using a copy, but this involves making a separate application. 

What happens if the deceased was in debt?

If you are an executor, then it is your responsibility to pay all of the deceased’s debts and financial affairs by using the value of the estate on behalf of the person who died. As a first step, take a look at their paperwork and identify any outstanding bills or debts before you start distributing their assets and personal possessions to the beneficiaries. 

What is a personal representative?

Personal representatives are those who have the legal authority to administer someone’s estate. Essentially, it’s just an alternative name for an executor or administrator. 

What are Letters of Administration?

Grant of Letters of Administration is a legal document that allows the personal representatives to deal with an Estate, if there is no Will, under the Law of Intestacy, or when there is no Executor.

What is a Lasting Power of Attorney?

There are two types of Lasting Powers of Attorney, one for Financial and Property affairs and one for Health and Welfare affairs. They are both documents that allow someone to make important decisions on behalf of another person. Once a document has been written up, agreed and signed, it can be used immediately while you still have mental capacity, or can take effect when you lose mental capacity. Health and Welfare can only be used when someone loses their capacity, whereas the Property and Financial can be used once registered or when someone has lost their capacity, depending on the instructions in the document.

What our clients say

I would like to mention Jessica Dawkins for her helpful advice, her kindness, and her patience in her dealing with me. Thank you.

- Marina

Excellent advice and service from Saul Caplan who had an immediate understanding of our needs, with fast teamwork. Very pleased.

- Mr & Mrs Evans

A grateful thanks to Mark Goodson for his help and guidance throughout

- Ms S, Benfleet

We have received kind, courteous and prompt attention from Paula Dallison and her team. Thank you.

- Mr and Mrs Eatherton, Rayleigh

The staff showed real understanding and concern for our personal situations.

- Mr D, Rochford

Paula Dallison has always been so very helpful and kind.

- Miss M, Thorpebay

Saul Caplan

Wills, Inheritance, Trusts and Probate | BTMK Goodson

Nabiha Umer

Private Client | BTMK Todmans

Sophie Bacon

Private Client | BTMK Todmans

Paula Dallison

Private Client | BTMK Todmans

Susan Foxen

Wills, Inheritance, Trusts & Probate | BTMK Goodson

Mark Goodson

Wills, Inheritance, Trusts and Probate | BTMK Goodson

Megan McKinlay

Wills, Inheritance, Trusts and Probate | BTMK Goodson

Kavita Ryatt

Wills, Inheritance, Trusts and Probate | BTMK Goodson

Jessica Dawkins

Wills, Inheritance, Trusts and Probate | BTMK Goodson

Laura Dwyer

Wills, Inheritance, Trusts and Probate | BTMK Todmans

Saheb Choudhury

Wills, Inheritance, Trusts and Probate | BTMK Goodson

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