Probate & Estate Administration
The probate and the estate administration of your loved one’s will can be complicated and daunting process, especially when it needs to be completed during a difficult and emotional time.
Our team of trusted and experienced probate lawyers are available to help you through the entire procedure, explaining confusing legal jargon, and giving you clarity and reassurance when you need it most.
But we can help with as much or as little of the probate process as you wish. It may be that you just need a little help coping with one particular asset or help in more detail, allowing you to administer the estate to the beneficiaries yourself. Or, you might need us to handle the entire process for you.
We can gather any information needed, complete forms, obtain the Grant of Probate, and gather in and distribute the estate to the beneficiaries on your behalf. Whatever you decide and whatever you need, we’re here to help.
Visit our fees page to view our Probate & Estate Administration fees.
Becoming executor of the will (or administrator)
If a friend or family member would like you to be the executor of their will when they die, they’ll probably ask you. But being executor can be complicated and time-consuming, giving you more pressure at a time when you may well be upset by the loss of your friend or family member.
While you ought to think carefully about whether you want the responsibility of being executor, even if you agree, you can always renounce the duty later. If that’s what you’ve chosen to do, it’s advisable to let the testator (the person making the will) know, so they can choose an alternative.
While being an executor of the will is a responsibility, it does allow you to make sure the final wishes of your friend or relative are carried out as they’d like, while also looking after the interests of the beneficiaries. However, it’s often the case that one or more beneficiaries will be asked to be executor of the will.
If the will doesn’t name any executors, the beneficiaries have the right to apply to act as administrator. If there’s no will at all, then the closest relatives - who will inherit under the rules of intestacy - can apply to take on the estate administration.
What does an executor of a will do?
If you’re named as executor of the will, you automatically become responsible for estate administration when the testator dies. This includes identifying the deceased’s assets and debts, paying off creditors, then distributing what’s left to the beneficiaries. But you might also be held personally responsible for any potential liabilities as well, such as if you start paying out inheritances before repaying debts.
However, you normally need to apply for a Grant of Probate before you can get the official authority to deal with the assets. As part of this, you work out the value of the estate, then complete inheritance tax forms for HM Revenue & Customs. If inheritance tax is payable, you’ll need to pay some or all of the tax due.
Your next step
Probate and estate administration can be complex and confusing, especially if the estate is large or complicated, or if there’s the possibility of any kind of a dispute.