The death of a loved one is naturally a difficult time. We know that you may be feeling overwhelmed and it is likely that you will have many questions about what happens next. We have assisted many generations of families when it comes to structuring and distributing estates with professionalism, compassion and understanding.
Whether the estate is large or small we can help with the legal process in the most efficient way possible. We believe that our role is not limited to dealing with the legal process of administering an estate but also includes providing guidance and practical advice to those who need the support.
We can assist in all aspects of Probate and Estate Administration including, but not limited to the following:
Here, we answer some of the questions that we are often asked. If you would like any further information or wish to discuss your situation with us, do contact a member of our team.
There can be some clarification required here, particularly if you have not been through this before.
The term probate is a commonly used term which technically forms part of the estate administration process. The terms denotes the application for the Grant of Representation, which will either be a Grant of Probate if there is a Will or a Grant of Letters of Administration if there is no Will. Once granted by the Court, this formal document gives the legal representatives the right to deal with the estate.
Estate administration means managing the deceased’s estate, making any legal and tax arrangements before distributing the estate according to the Will, if there is one.
While probate is not always required, estate administration must always be completed.
A Grant of Representation is most commonly either a Grant of Probate or Letters of Administration. It provides evidence that the Executor or Administrator has legal authority to manage the estate.
The Executor has some legal authority to manage the estate from the time the individual has passed away. Without a Will in place, the Administrators appointed under a Grant Letters of Administration would only have permission once the Grant has come through.
Prior to applying for the Grant, the Executor or Administrator will need to:
Once probate has been acquired, the Executor or Administrator is then able to administer the estate, which will involve several duties including, but not limited to:
Once these matters are resolved, as Executor or Administrator, you will then be required to distribute the remaining assets of the estate to the beneficiaries as specified in the Will, if one is present.
Probate is frequently required for the administration of a person’s estate, and some institutions require a Grant of Representation no matter the size of the estate. You may find, however, that you do not need probate if the following situations apply:
While probate and estate administration can be done without a solicitor, we would always recommend that legal advice is sought for several reasons:
There are also certain situations that can create a more complex situation requiring a unique set of skills, for example:
Using a solicitor for the probate and estate administration can assist in minimising any risk of errors and will also remove the burden and time required from your shoulders.
As explained above, probate and estate administration can be a complicated process and one that would benefit from legal assistance.
However, if the estate is relatively straight forward but a Grant of Representation is still required, you may find it useful for us to obtain the Grant on your behalf for you to then manage the estate administration independently.
We offer a particular service in which we will draft the paperwork and apply for a Grant of Probate or Letters of Administration and, once received, we pass the document over to you.
This will vary depending on the size of the estate and your particular circumstances as every situation is unique.
Generally speaking, an application for a Grant of Probate can take around four to six weeks. When dealing with the full administration of the estate, this could take in the region of six to nine months, but occasionally longer depending on the circumstances.
We are able to make applications for a Grant of Probate, Letters of Administration or Grant Only probate for a fixed fee. Please see our Estate Administration costs page.
As demonstrated, there are many responsibilities involved in being an Executor or an Administrator at an already difficult time. The role can be time consuming and confusing depending on the size and complexity of the estate and we know you will be wishing to proceed with matters as efficiently and swiftly as possible.
We are on hand to support you with your questions or with any part of the probate and estate administration duties. If you require any assistance please feel free to contact a member of our Private Client team.
For further details please watch the video below.