What is a Probate Solicitor?

probate definition

When a person dies, they often leave a will. This is essentially a “wish list” that sums up their intentions and wishes for the property and money that they leave behind when they die. If the will has been correctly drafted, they will have appointed an “executor/s” (often family members), whose job is to action (or execute) the deceased’s wishes on their behalf.

A probate solicitor’s job is to help and support the executors.  It is often necessary to obtain a court order called a Grant of Probate. This document allows an executor to fulfil the wishes of the deceased as if they were still alive.

 

Who Can be an Executor?

There are a few exceptions to the general rule that anyone can be an executor of an estate.  It is quite possible to be both an executor and a beneficiary of the will at the same time.  An executor must be aged 18 or over.

Nevertheless, it is important that you choose an executor who will be in a position both mentally and emotionally to deal with what may be complex issues surrounding your estate, at a time that is often extremely stressful. Amongst other things, you are asking your executor to be responsible for the management and distribution of the property you leave behind.

They will need to:

  • Obtain property values
  • Sell your property
  • Determine the value of any Capital Gains or Inheritance Taxes and pay this
  • Collect Life Insurance
  • Pay Final Bills
  • Ensure the transfer of any property to the beneficiary in the will
  • Distribute assets to beneficiaries

They may also need to manage the transfer of your business interests.  Clearly this can be an onerous,  and sometimes a highly stressful task.

How Can a Probate Solicitor Help?

When you make your will, it is wise to involve a solicitor, who will manage the process from the initial drafting to the execution of the will. This will ensure that the document fulfils its purpose and is legally compliant, i.e. that it is a valid will, and acceptable to the Probate Court.

As well as  the law relating to wills,  there are likely to be other legal areas to consider including trusts, property and tax law. The aim of your solicitor when preparing your will is to ensure that the eventual administration your estate is made as straightforward, tax efficient and cost effective as possible.

Upon a person’s death, a probate solicitor will be able to offer comprehensive, clear practical help in all aspects of the law. They will apply for the grant of probate from the Probate Division of the High Court and will also be able to resolve inheritance law issues, and advise on all other relevant issues, including Inheritance Tax, Capital Gains Tax law and property law.

AM Davies’ Approach

At A M Davies, we believe that our clients not only have a right to expect legal expertise, but that they should be honoured and valued as individuals. It goes without saying that the loss of a loved one is one of life’s most stressful events. With our empathetic and understanding approach, we are here to support our clients.

We believe our overarching duty is to carefully guide our clients through a demanding and exacting legal process. We recognise that this has to be done at a time when the last thing a grieving relation or friend needs is the burden of a pile of complex paperwork.

At A M Davies we provide a legal service with a difference: our focus is entirely on our clients.