When a loved one has passed away, it is an incredibly emotional and distressing time. It also can create further distress if they passed away suddenly and didn’t leave a will, so there is no record of who their estate will be passed on to.
If your loved one has not left a will, if you want to contest their existing will or if there is an issue surrounding the authenticity of their will, you will need to seek advice from a solicitor, specialised in probate law. Many probate solicitors in Portsmouth are experts in helping families settle such disputes and will aim to provide a satisfactory solution to any disagreements over inheritance.
What is probate law?
In the UK, probate is a term used to define the financial and legal process involved in dealing with the property, money or other possessions of a person who has passed away. When looking for a solicitor to help you through this, it is best to look for a sensitive but experienced one, like probate solicitors in Portsmouth, who will help you through this difficult process with compassion and a high level of legal expertise.
If a next of kin or an executor named in the will can transfer or sell the deceased person’s assets, they often have to apply for probate. Of course, this is a basic outline of a straightforward probate process and assumes that the deceased individual has left a will.
If the person did not leave a will, you may have to apply to be administrator of their estate to prove you have the legal right to manage their estate and assets. Many solicitors that specialise in probate are equipped to help you manage both of these scenarios and will provide you with advice on how to start the probate process in either case.
The process of probate
The traditional probate process involves 5 stages which are-
Identifying the deceased person’s assets and their liabilities to determine the value of their estate. Also, verification of entitlement to the estate in accordance with their will is completed at this stage.
Paying inheritance tax to Her Majesty’s Revenue and Customs (HMRC) and applying to the Probate Registry for a Grant of Representation; a document confirming the legal authority to the estate.
Once the Grant of Representation has been granted, liquidation of the estate and assets is performed to pay expenses left by the deceased.
Preparing estate accounts, showing the balance left for all those named in the will post payment of expenses.
Assuming there have been no challenges, the final phase involves transferring the remaining assets to the beneficiaries and distributing any remaining funds.
As you can see, even basic probate is complicated. It is best to make sure your solicitor is experienced at every stage of the probate process and compassionate in addressing the needs of family members left behind. It is a highly charged period in a person’s life when they lose someone close to them, the cool head of a probate solicitor can help smooth what can be a rocky path emotionally.