Probate and Estate Administration
When someone dies, it is often necessary to apply for a Grant of Probate. This is the legal document that gives their personal representative, known as their executor, the authority to deal with the finalisation of their affairs, referred to as estate administration.
Dealing with obtaining a Grant of Probate and the administration of an estate can be time-consuming and, at times, complicated. We know how daunting and stressful this process can be at what is already a difficult time.
At Griffith Smith, our probate solicitors and estate administration solicitors have extensive experience in dealing with the winding up of someone’s affairs after their death, including for complex and high value estates and where difficulties and disputes have arisen.
We can assist with all aspects of probate and estate administration, including:
- Valuing the deceased’s assets
- Calculating and paying Inheritance Tax
- Collecting in the assets and selling them where necessary
- Clearing and selling a property
- Identifying and paying all outstanding debts and liabilities
- Preparing detailed estate accounts
- Distributing the estate to the beneficiaries named in the deceased’s Will
- Dealing with an estate where the deceased did not leave a Will
Taking care of the estate of someone who has passed away is a serious responsibility. If errors are made which result in a loss to the estate, the executor can be held personally liable, even if they were genuine mistakes.
At Griffith Smith, our probate and estate administration experts can take on the task of winding up someone’s affairs on your behalf. Our team are friendly and sensitive and we can help you deal with the difficult task of finalising matters on behalf of a loved one.
Speak to our expert probate and estate administration solicitors in Sussex now
Why choose Griffith Smith for probate and estate administration?
Clear, in-depth advice on exactly what you need to do
Our probate and estate administration solicitor will review your circumstances with you and make sure you know exactly what actions you need to take. This includes advice as to whether Grant of Probate is required and what needs to be done if the deceased did not leave a Will.
Specialist expertise you can rely on
Our probate and estate administration team have extensive experience in respect of the winding up of affairs following a death, including in complex situations and high value estates. This means we know all of the steps you need to take, as well as any potential risks and how you can avoid unnecessary problems.
We are always available when you need us
If you ask us to deal with the application for probate and the administration on your behalf, we will ensure that you are kept up to date with progress and that we are available to speak to you and answer your questions as needed.
Exceptional client service
As well as providing strong advice and guidance, our team is known for its excellent client care. We understand how difficult it can be to deal with the final affairs of a loved one and we approach an estate administration with sensitivity and sympathy.
Probate and estate administration FAQs
How long does probate take?
Once the assets in an estate have been identified and valued and Inheritance Tax paid, an application for the Grant of Probate can be made. The Probate Registry will generally take around six to eight weeks to issue the Grant of Probate.
Once probate has been received, it can take around a year to finalise an estate, although this is entirely dependent upon the assets it contains. For a simple estate, the time taken could be shorter. If the estate contains a property that needs to be sold, this can take several months. Where an estate is large or complex, it could take longer than a year.
How long do you have to pay Inheritance Tax?
After a death, Inheritance Tax is due six months after the end of the month in which the deceased died. From then on, interest accrues on the amount that is still outstanding.
How much money does an estate need to have before probate is required?
Probate is not always needed to administer a small estate where there is no property and less than £5,000 in bank and other accounts.
Above that level, probate may be required, depending on where the deceased’s assets were held. Each bank has its own level, above which it will require sight of a Grant of Probate before closing an account. This varies between £5,000 and £50,000.
If the deceased owned a property that needs to be sold, then it will be necessary to apply for a Grant of Probate.
How much does probate cost?
The Probate Registry fee for providing a Grant of Probate depends on the value of the estate. Where this is worth over £5,000 and the application is made by a probate solicitor, then the fee is £155. It costs £215 if the application is made by an individual.
At Griffith Smith, we work efficiently to keep our costs for dealing with an estate administration competitive, saving money for our clients while never compromising on the quality of our service.
For a full breakdown of the likely legal costs, see our Probate Pricing.
How does probate work if there is no Will?
If the deceased did not leave a Will, then their estate passes in accordance with the Rules of Intestacy to family members in a strict order.
The estate will be wound up by an administrator, who will generally be someone who is entitled to inherit under the Rules of Intestacy. The administrator needs to apply to the Probate Registry for a Grant of Letters of Administration, which will give them the legal authority needed to deal with the estate.
What happens if an executor does not follow the Will?
The estate administrator is legally bound to carry out the administration of the estate in accordance with both the law and the instructions left in the Will. If they do not, then the beneficiaries can question this and, where a breach of duty has occurred, bring a legal claim against the executor.
For this reason, it is important that an executor understands how to correctly wind up an estate so that liability can be avoided.