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Wills & Probate

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Frequently Asked Questions

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InHouse Wills & Probate

Award-winning Will writer

Grant of Probate

We have for our probate service in Blaby, Broughton Astley, Earl Shilton, Glenfield, Huncote, LE9, LE19 -  indeed around all parts of Leicester

Probate & Estate Administration

Probate officially confirms the situation regarding the Will (or lack of a Will). It is just a part of the overall Estate Administration process. There are major responsibilities involved, but help is available.

Probate & Estate Administration

 

When anyone passes away someone has to sort out their financial affairs. The overall process is known as Estate Administration. For those with few assets the process may be very simple, whilst for others it can take many years with major tax, legal and financial responsibilities to be discharged. In all cases the Will must be put into effect by the executors, or where there is no Will then the rules of Intestacy are applied.

As part of the process whoever is administering the estate might have to obtain a Grant from the Probate Court. This grant formally confirms the situation regarding the Will (or lack of a Will) and gives authority to the administrator to deal with the estate. Normally the need for a grant of probate does not depend upon whether or not there is a Will; it depends upon the size and nature of the assets in the estate. In particular if the estate includes a house or a major savings account is to be transferred then probate will be required. If the Will is challenged then it is called contentious probate.

The executors also take responsibility for inheritance tax. Rule changes from 2022 have minimised the reporting of the tax for most ‘ordinary’ estates - but there are traps to catch the unwary even where there is no tax to be paid. In addition, new regulations can mean that executors become responsible for registering trusts created by the Will.

There are many different ways to handle the estate administration. If everything is fairly simple then family or friends might deal with things themselves. However you need to be aware that you will be responsible for your actions for up to 12 years. For that reason at the very least you should take some advice about what needs to be done and InHouse can help you with that.

On the other hand, you can appoint professionals to deal with things for you, but be careful about which service you choose. Lots of firms will talk about ‘doing probate’, but that might mean they just fill in a couple of forms leaving you to sign and you to carry the responsibility. Here at InHouse we recommend our specialist partners to deliver a full estate administration service for the more complex estates; they fill in all the tax and legal forms, can shoulder the formal responsibility and complete the full estate administration process.

Just as the nature of an estate varies greatly from person to person, so the costs associated with probate and full estate administration vary too. From January 2022 the official government probate fees have increased, to £273 and could alter again in the future. Beyond these official fees there can be the additional cost of using a solicitor or other professional to handle the administration for you.

Traditionally solicitors have charged on an hourly basis. Families accepting this approach were effectively writing a blank cheque, not being certain about the final bill. Other families let their bank deal with things for them, which often involved a large fee based simply on a percentage of the size of the estate. However nowadays go-ahead firms have taken a better approach, often quoting a fixed-price fee based upon the exact details of the case. A fixed fee means that the family know what they are committing to before accepting the offer. InHouse can arrange a quotation for you if required.

Given the costs of probate families have always been interested in alternative approaches. However estate administration involves dealing with the entire inheritance and all its associated liabilities, so care has to be taken not to cut corners. There can be many options, so it will be important to let InHouse look at your situation in detail to see what approaches might be suitable for you.

Pre-paid Probate

You may have been offered a service to pay for Probate in advance - a so-called “Pre-bate” service. In other cases you may be ‘guaranteed’ that the fee will be no more than a fixed percentage.

Our advice is clear - be  VERY CAREFUL before paying in advance for Probate or for so-called discounted fees. There are many reasons to avoid this, including

Probate and IHT papers

Applying for Probate, completing Inheritance Tax forms and administering the estate; help is available, even if we didn’t write the Will.