When someone passes away, you may need legal advice about probate and estate administration to help deal with their property, money and possessions, otherwise known as their ‘estate’.
We can have as much involvement in probate and estate administration as you need, whether it be a gentle helping hand to signpost you in the right direction or to administer the whole estate on your behalf and that of your loved ones. Please rest assured that our dedicated team will act sensitively, delicately and be there to support you throughout.
At John Fowlers Solicitors we help people through what can be a very difficult time. An initial meeting with our team will make sure you’re given all the information you need to start the process of organising the assets of the deceased. We have a caring and professional approach, making sure you feel comfortable throughout the entire process and in safe hands when making these decisions.
In order to complete the administration process of an estate, the deceased’s assets will need to be collected. This will include their bank accounts, any liabilities that need to be paid such as funeral expenses, and any remaining money that will be distributed in accordance with the terms of the Will. In situations where there is not a Will, distribution of the deceased’s assets will need to be decided through the Rules of Intestacy.
Grant of Representation
In the majority of situations, you will also need a Grant of Representation. This gives authority to named people to complete the administration process. The named people will be issued a formal document by the Probate Registry that gives them the authority to collect monies from the bank, liaise with institutions such as the Department of Work and Pensions, as well as sell any property owned by the deceased.
There are three types of Grant of Representation:
- Grant of ProbateThis is issued to the Executors (otherwise known as administrators) named in the deceased’s Will. The Executors will then be granted the authority to administer the estate.
- Letters of Administration with Will annexedThis is issued in the situation where the deceased left a Will, however, the named Executors are unable or unwilling to act.
- Letters of AdministrationThis is issued in the situation where the deceased did not make a Will or his Will is not valid.
In situations where the Executors cannot act or no will is available, there is a list of people who can apply to complete the administration process such as the spouse or children of the deceased. The Probate Registry has strict rules that need to be complied with and if the application form for the Grant is incorrect, this can have negative consequences for the administration process. At John Fowlers Solicitors, we can help ensure you are meeting all the requirements and guide you through the process efficiently.
If a Trust has been created through the deceased’s Will, the Executors (and therefore Trustees) will have strict legal requirements that must be complied with. We can provide you with clear and concise information regarding your responsibilities under the Trust and if necessary how to remove the Trust from the Will. In some cases, Trusts are created to protect against Inheritance Tax (see our Estate Planning page
for more information) or Care Home fees.
Naturally, people are concerned about the cost of using a solicitor to complete the administration process.
At John Fowlers Solicitors, we offer a number of options regarding Fees:
- We can obtain the Grant of Representation for you on a Fixed Fee basis.This will be agreed within an initial meeting with us depending on whether there are available Executors and the nature of the assets and liabilities within the estate.
- We can complete the full administration process and proceed on an hourly charge out rate.The hourly charge out rate will be provided to you in the initial meeting with us and you will be given an overall estimate of costs for the administration process in order to help you with budgeting.
- We can complete the full administration process based on a fixed percentage of the gross value of the estate.This will vary between 1% – 3% of the gross value and an estimate can be provided based on the value of the known estate which will be provided to you in writing. This fee charging structure can be more suitable for complicated estates or where Executors and/or Beneficiaries wish to known exactly what the costs will be.