Losing someone you love is difficult and upsetting and if you have been named in their Will as executor of their estate, this may cause you to feel stressed and even more upset. You shouldn’t let this worry though as we can manage the whole process of probate so you can focus on coming to terms with the loss of your family member. As probate solicitors, we’re here to help that process go smoothly.

So what is probate and what do probate solicitors do?

Probate is the process of dealing with someone’s belongings and property after they have died. This doesn’t just include distributing items from their Will, but also includes paying any outstanding debts against the estate, recovering any money owed to the estate, valuing how much the estate is worth and selling any larger assets such as property if these have not be left to specific individuals. As probate solicitors, we understand the process and ensure everything goes smoothly.

In order to have the authority to access bank accounts, you must be named as the executor of the Will and then obtain a grant of representation. This will give you the right to act on behalf of the person who has died.  If you would like us to act as executor of the Will and complete the probate process for you, you will need to nominate us as executor and remove yourself, which is a relatively simple process.

What Happens During Probate?

Once an executor is appointed, a grant of representation is needed. This is sometimes known as a grant of probate or letters of administration.

This grant of representation allows access to the estate of the person who died, including their bank account and all other aspects of their financial circumstances.

The first job is the important job of valuing the estate. This is important because this is how the amount of inheritance tax is decided and if you get this wrong as the executor of a Will, you are legally responsible.

This should involve getting valuations of any property, valuables and all other assets included in the estate. After deciding on the value of the estate, you should then arrange to pay any inheritance tax due. Inheritance tax is payable on any estate valued at more than £325,000 and once paid you may start to gather the assets such as putting any property up for sale.

You should then recover any outstanding money owed to the estate and pay off any outstanding debts. This could include rebates on gas or electric and paying the phone bill.

Once this process is completed, you are finally able to distribute the estate as requested in the Will.

What Happens If There Is No Will?

Probate still needs to happen even if there is no Will, however the law will decide on how the estate is distributed and as next of kin, you will still need to apply for a grant of representation.

The law specifically excludes certain people from the intestacy (dying without a Will) laws such as partners who are not married, regardless of how long they have been together and civil partnerships too. That is one of the key reasons to ensure that your wishes are heard even after your death by making a Will.

How Can VLCW Probate Solicitors Help?

Our experienced team in Wills and Probate can help you no matter what the circumstances. It is important to ensure that the legal side of the process is correctly completed and we can help you to achieve that, whilst remembering that you have just lost a loved one.

We always aim to bring probate to a close as swiftly as possible, as that is in the best interests of everyone involved.

You can rely on us to get you through this difficult time and to take a lot of the pressure from you regarding the probate process.

If you would like to know more about our London probate solicitors services, please call us on 020 7490 5861 and one of the Will and Probate team will be happy to discuss your circumstances.

You may prefer to get in touch online, in which case you can email info@vlcw.com and we’ll get back to your shortly.