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Probate

When someone dies, someone – either an executor, named in their Will or their next of kin – will have to handle their outstanding affairs. This person is called a ‘Personal Representative’, and may be required to seek ‘probate’ or a ‘grant’.

A grant of probate is a legal document which you may need when managing the legal, tax and other administrative affairs relating to the deceased’s estate.

When is probate required?

Probate is often required by banks, insurers and other financial institutions in order to access assets.

In some cases, you may not need to seek probate. This is usually the case for smaller estates, where there is no property involved.

If the deceased owned a property which needs to be sold or transferred to a beneficiary, probate will always be required.

What does a Personal Representative do?

There can be up to four executors of a Will. Being the Personal Representative of someone who’s deceased is a time-consuming process and carries significant legal responsibilities. These include:

  • Accurately valuing and collecting assets
  • Accounting for gifts and transfer of assets above a certain value made in the seven years before death
  • Preparing estate accounts and manage tax matters (including Inheritance Tax, Income, and Capital Gains Tax)
  • Distributing assets in accordance with the Will or Rules of Intestacy
  • Paying debts and funeral expenses

As the executor, you are responsible for the accuracy of these matters, and will also be liable for any mistakes. You should seek legal advice if you are unsure of any aspect.

If you are acting as a loved one’s Personal Representative, it is likely to be a difficult time for you. Being named on a Grant is a significant legal role, and it is essential that you complete the probate process correctly as you will ultimately be held liable for any mistakes. Given the complexity and time-consuming nature of estate administration, many Personal Representatives opt to work with a solicitor throughout the probate process.

Intestacy

If someone has died without a Will, they are considered ‘intestate’. The rules of intestacy determine who will be the administrator, and who receives the deceased’s assets. Administering an intestate estate can be complicated, especially if the rules are contested.


How can BMA Law help?

If you are seeking legal advice about probate, intestacy or other estate administration, our dedicated probate solicitors will work with you throughout the case. You can choose the level of support you require, from help with forms up to full management of the probate process.

We will work with you no matter how straightforward or complicated the estate is. Our fixed fee system means you will get a quote upfront, and don’t have to worry about spiraling hourly costs. Contact us >

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