Corporate Law

Probate

Our wills and probate solicitors are experts within their field. Whether you require estate planning, probate legal advice or even will writing, our solicitors can guide you in every step of the process, delivering the best outcome for you.

What does probate mean?

Probate is the process of dealing with the estate of someone who has passed away. Usually, this entails satisfying their debts and distributing their assets in accordance with their will.

The services our Probate Solicitors provide

With our Complete Probate Service we:

  • Take you, as an executor, through the legal meaning of the deceased’s Will;
  • Apply for the Grant of Probate or Letters of Administration;
    • Complete the Probate Application
    • Complete the Inheritance Tax forms
    • Send to the Probate Registry
    • Help you swear an oath that the accounts are accurate
  • Write letters to all involved to close accounts, such as banks and utility companies;
  • Collect the estate amount;
  • Pay any debts outstanding, such as mortgages, loans, and credit cards;
  • Claim any insurance policies taken out by the deceased;
  • Make final valuation of the estate less of taxes and debts;
  • Establish any Will Trusts set up in the Will through relevant appointments; and
  • Distribute the assets to the beneficiaries.

The role of Executor or Administrator, and the estate administration duties involved, can be very time-consuming and challenging. As it involves following a specific process, completing complicated forms, and a knowledge of both the law and taxation.

If you book an appointment with one of our specialists. We can walk you through the process step-by-step. Ensuring that the estate is properly dealt with. 

Please contact us for more information and find out more about Farani Taylor wills and probate solicitors in London or you could check out our fixed probate fees here.

Inheritance Tax planning

Inheritance tax can cost your loved ones hundreds of thousands of pounds when you pass away, however, it is possible to legitimately avoid and even pay none at all depending on the circumstances. Our expert wills and probate solicitors can look at your circumstances and create a bespoke plan of how to avoid hefty Inheritance tax payments in the eventuality of your death. 

Gifting of property

If a deceased person gifted ownership of their home to another person prior to their death, then Inheritance tax may still be applied in respect of their property when it comes to Probate. The Inheritance tax liability will vary depending on individual circumstances but can cause a lot of angst in the midst of an already upsetting time. Farani Taylor Probate Team will look at your options, delivering the best outcome for you and your loved ones.

Who can apply for probate?

Certain people can apply for probate to manage the estate of someone who has died, depending on whether the person who has passed away left a will proposing an executor. 

The will states the deceased person’s wishes as well as what should happen to their property and assets or ‘estate’ after they pass away. 

If the deceased person did not leave a will an ‘administrator’ will deal with the estate. To become an estate’s administrator you must be over 18 and the most ‘entitled’ beneficiary of the deceased’s estate. Usually this is the closest living relative to the deceased. This process can be difficult and time-consuming in a time when you and your loved ones may already be distraught. Our wills and probate solicitors London can fill out and submit forms on your behalf, providing you with peace of mind that your application is accurate, whilst releasing the pressure from you and your family

Step by Step Guide to Probate Application

Applying for probate can be time-consuming, confusing and upsetting. The listed points are a brief guide on if and how you need to apply but it is advisable to instruct wills and probate solicitors to support you with this process to avoid paying higher Inheritance tax than necessary, ensure your application is submitted entirely accurately ( including estate calculations) and to make sure assets are distributed fairly and quickly.

1. Check if you require probate

Probate is only not required if: 

  • The deceased person had jointly owned land, property, shares or money – these will automatically pass to the surviving owners.
  • Only had savings or premium bonds

You will be required to contact each holder of the deceased assets ( ie bank or mortgage company) and find out if you’ll need to obtain probate to receive access to their estate. Each organisation has their own rules on this, so it is imperative you contact each individual asset holder.

2. Check your Eligibility

To reiterate, only certain people can apply for probate and it will depend on who is named in the deceased’s will. If a will hasn’t been made, the closest living relative can apply to become an administrator through a separate application form, once and if this is obtained, the administrator can then apply for probate. 

3. If you are named as Executor

An executor is a person named by the deceased in a will who is responsible for delegating the deceased’s estate. The executor will require a copy of the original will to begin the application for probate. 

The executor is responsible for gathering all of the deceased’s assets. The executor will also have to pay any outstanding debts such as a mortgage. After this is completed, the executor will then be required to distribute what is left according to the Will or intestacy, which can be quite an administrative burden.

As an executor, you will need to complete and send all relevant probate and inheritance tax forms. Sending them to the correct government office.

4. Application to Probate

Applying for probate can be a difficult and lengthy process, however, with the support of our wills and probate solicitors, applying for probate can be stress-free and simple.

Step by Step Applications from Best Probate Solicitors London | Farani Taylor

Step by step process that helps you apply for probate effortlessly. If you have any other problems, please contact Farani Taylor Solicitors.

  • Check if there’s a will 

Depending on whether there is an existing will in place or an executor appointed will be the starting point for making an application for probate. If there is no will or executor, the closest relative will have to apply for a grant of representation, which can be time-consuming and frustrating. Typically, it takes around 3-6 months to obtain a grant of representation but it can take longer if the initial application isn’t detailed enough.

If you are the executor you will need the original will ( you will not need this if you are appointed administrator). You must also have the original death certificate from the coroner.

If you would like some support or advice with your application or would like us to complete the application process on your behalf, you can contact one of our wills and probate solicitors London who can advise you further.

  • Value the Estate and Submit the Application to HMRC

You will be required to calculate and report the estimated estate value of the deceased. You then will need to calculate and pay inheritance tax on their assets to HMRC before applying for probate. This can take up to 20 days for HMRC to process, so it’s important you submit your documentation correctly the first time to avoid further delays.

  • Pay the Inheritance Tax

Inheritance tax may be required to be paid before you are able to obtain probate. It may be difficult to determine the true estate value at this stage, so inheritance tax will be payable based upon the estimated value. You can be refunded by the beneficiaries or estate if you have paid inheritance tax out of your own money and there are ways of settling the inheritance tax balance if the use of personal funds is not available. This process can be complex and we would advise receiving expert legal advice prior to settling any balance to ensure calculations and details are correct in the first instance.

  • Make an Application to Probate by our Probate Solicitors

Our wills and probate solicitors are able to make your probate registry and application on your behalf as part of the administration process. If you decide to not appoint a solicitor, you can make an application by post. If the deceased lived in England or Wales and you have already reported the estate’s value, you can use the original will,  or original or interim death certificate to make an online application. You will still be required to submit the original documents and relevant fees together via post. Usually, a grant of probate should be sent with you within 20 days.

  • Asset Collection

Notifying organisations where assets are held, for example, banks or building societies, etc, is one of the first steps to obtaining probate. All agencies and organisations will require a copy of the grant in probate. 

If the deceased shared a bank account, the account balance will automatically pass to the remaining account holder. 

If the deceased held a ‘joint tenancy’ or shared property with another person, ownership is simply passed to the other owner. If this is not applicable, their share goes to the beneficiaries named in the will. 

If you have appointed a probate solicitor, funds will be held in their client account until the beneficiaries are paid. If a solicitor is not involved, the executors will be expected to set up a bank account (known as an ‘executorship account’) in which they can transfer the assets of the estate.

  • Pay Off All the Debts

When access to the deceased’s bank accounts has been obtained by the executor(s)and the sale of assets realized, outstanding debts to mortgages, HMRC, etc can be paid. 

Executors can also pay any attendance allowance, overpaid pensions, and settle any income tax, etc for the last period of the deceased’s life or for the administration period. Taxes still apply to the estate and executors have to ensure they are paid.

  • Value of the Estate

After the deceased’s debts and taxes have been settled, you’ll need to calculate the total remaining value of the deceased’s estate. When valuing an estate you must include all the assets that the deceased owned or had an interest in:

  • An alternatively secured pension fund from which the deceased benefited.
  • Agricultural and business interests.
  • Certain types of trusts from which the deceased benefited (consider receiving professional advice on this).
  • Foreign assets of any kind.
  • House contents.
  • Investments portfolios (e.g. stocks, shares, ISAs, etc.)
  • Interests from currently existing trusts.
  • Money held in financial institutions.
  • Money payable on death from a pension (excluding ongoing pension payments to a surviving partner).
  • Property and land.
  • Personal Property and jointly owned belongings (e.g. painting, car or jewelry, etc.).
  • Life insurance payments paid on death, although as above, the tax will not be due on policies held in trust.
  • Loans made by the deceased to another person.
  • Any other asset with value.

Bank accounts can be totaled with relative ease, but the property may need a professional valuation to work out its actual worth. For more advice on this, please get in touch with our solicitors who can direct you to specialists within this field.

Insurance pay-outs after death can count as part of the estate and varies depending upon the policy. Please ensure consideration of this. 

We suggest evaluating gifts given by the deceased within 7 years of their death, as well as assets they had an interest in; identifying if they need to be included in the valuation.

Please review the Government UK Website for more information, or contact our team who can provide you with free advice based on your circumstances.

  • Record how the estate is being split amongst the beneficiaries.

It is important for executors to keep an ‘estate record’, which will detail the amount of money that will document the amount of the estate, the number of debts paid, and how any money, property, or possession are being divided between beneficiaries. The accounts will be required to be signed by the executors and in some instances, beneficiaries, to provide a receipt or documentation of any transactions made.

  • Share the remaining assets to the beneficiaries of the will

The executors have to distribute all the assets to the beneficiaries according to the will once the estate accounts are agreed upon.

Upon agreement of the estate accounts, executors must then distribute all assets to any beneficiaries in accordance with the will. If there was no will, please speak to our probate team who can give you legal advice on what your next steps should be.

Dealing with the administration of an estate can be complex, it usually takes several months to ensure everything is carried out correctly. A typical time-scale for completing the whole administration process can be anything from 6-12 months minimum, which will rely on whether correct submissions have been made in accordance to the will. 

Every estate has different requirements and in every instance it is really useful to reach out to a specialist for a professional opinion, guidance and advice. 

Our wills and probate solicitors have a wealth of experience and knowledge in handling estates and can provide you with estimated probate timelines based upon your individual circumstances. We offer bespoke strategies to enable you to make the most cost-effective, informed decisions, whether you require advice with an initial consultation or support throughout and until completion when probate is granted. 

More often than not we can give you more accurate timelines within an initial consultation, providing you with all of the information you will require to make an educated decision on how to proceed with your probate application.

How we can help you with our Probate Solicitors London

At Farani Taylor we pride ourselves on inclusivity and diversity, ensuring you have the perfect solicitor appointed to your case, whatever that may be.Our wills and probate solicitors have been selected because they are experts within their field. They have extensive experience in dealing with wills and probate, maintaining excellence, empathy, and transparency throughout each process. 

Our probate service ensures you and your loved ones have peace of mind in an already upsetting time. In opting to use our services, you can be sure all of your documentation will be submitted accurately and efficiently, eliminating delays and more upsetting.

Probate Forms

If you would like advice on probate forms and where to submit them, you can contact our team who will provide you with how to start your journey to probate. 

If you book an appointment with one of our specialists, we can guide you through the process step-by-step, ensuring that the estate is properly dealt with.

Farani Taylor Solicitors is authorised and regulated by the Solicitors Regulation Authority. This gives you peace of mind knowing that your loved ones’ probate affairs are being dealt with by a regulated organisation and by an established brand you can trust.

Find the most suitable, London Based Probate Solicitors near you

Call us today on 0207 242 1666 to book a free initial consultation or contact us for more information.

What is a grant of probate?
Open What is a grant of probate?

A grant of probate confirms who the executor of the estate is after someone passes away. Their role includes paying any debts and administering their assets to their heirs. 

Before you can continue with executor duties, ( like accessing the deceased’s bank accounts etc) you will be required to obtain the legal authority to act. In the UK this is called a ‘grant of probate’. In Scotland it is called a ‘grant of confirmation’.

What are the fixed probate fees?
Open What are the fixed probate fees?

The probate application fee in England and Wales is £215, regardless of the size of the estate ( for estates worth less than £5,000 there are available exemptions). The fee is slightly lower (£155) if you apply through a solicitor. However, if probate submission is not completed accurately, you can acquire more fees by having to resolve this, particularly if the probate is contested.

How to save money on probate fees?
Open How to save money on probate fees?

Probate is an inherently expensive process. However, there are some ways you can save money:

  • Contact our wills and probate solicitors get free quotes and advice so you can decide which are the cheapest options for you
  • Decide if you think full estate admin will is necessary, or if you can save money with grant only probate
  • Avoid using a bank as banks generally charge a higher percentage rate for a similar service as a wills and probate solicitor.
  • Some of the earlier work you can complete yourself,  like gathering financial details, paying off debts, collecting insurance payments, creating a bank 
  • account for the estate, and planning how to administer the estate.

If you have any questions or require support, contact our wills and probate solicitors for free, no obligation advice.