Applying for Probate can be a time consuming, stressful and expensive task to handle at an already difficult time. At Estate Planning Solutions, we’ve helped many of our clients through the Probate process and can offer a wealth of professional advice and guidance to make it as stress-free as possible and put your mind at ease. As part of our ongoing client support package, we offer a free Probate consultation and fixed fee quote with Kings Court Trust, one of the largest specialist Probate providers in the country.
What is Probate?
Probate is the process of handling the belongings, savings, investments and property – in other words, the estate – of a person who has passed away, in accordance with their final wishes.
Probate falls to the responsibility of the executor or executors named in a person’s Will. This is usually a family member or friend, but some people appoint professional executors to carry out the process on their behalf. Even if you have appointed family members or friends, they can get professional help if they need it and delegate some or all the work of Probate to an experienced, qualified expert.
Supporting you in the Probate process
If you need help, the team at Estate Planning Solutions can guide you through the Probate process. Probate is something most people, thankfully, are only asked to do once in their lifetime. It can be a very difficult process, taking 12 to 18 months on average and is something you are not prepared for. It also comes with serious personal financial responsibility for any errors or mistakes in relation to tax returns and liabilities. For these reasons lots of people decide to get help from an experienced Probate professional.
The Probate process involves three main stages:
1. Apply for a Grant of Probate
You will need to complete the application for the Grant of Probate, which is the legal document giving you authority to deal with the estate. That involves collecting in current values of all assets and liabilities and notifying a number of organisations. Once you’ve gathered all the necessary information you can apply for the Grant – there are extensive guidance notes on the Probate Registry and HMRC websites.
The executors are personally responsible and financially liable for any errors or omissions in completing the application and for any subsequent tax returns for Income Tax and Inheritance Tax, so it is very important any paperwork is completed accurately and correctly.
2. Dealing with financial responsibilities
After the Grant of Probate has been issued, you will need to:
- Collect any assets
- Complete tax returns and pay any relevant taxes
- Pay any debts remaining on the estate
Other beneficiaries who are waiting for their inheritances will need to be kept advised and you need to make sure your work is done quickly, efficiently and professionally. Non-professional executors can charge for out-of-pocket expenses but normally there is no provision for any fees to be paid.
3. Paying the beneficiaries
Once all the deceased’s debts and tax liabilities have been paid, you will need to prepare a full set of estate accounts and distribute the estate to the beneficiaries in accordance with the terms of the deceased’s Will, including setting up any relevant trust arrangement either at Land Registry or through a trustee bank account or trustee investment.
Alternatively, you can ask a professional to do some or all of the work for you, for a fixed fee, so you know you won’t have to pay any more than the fee quoted. You should avoid open-ended ‘time fees’ as these are based on hourly rates, typically ranging from £200 to £400 per hour, with no limit on the amount of time charged.
How long does Probate take?
Probate takes at least a few months to complete. In most cases, the entire Probate administration process will take around 12 to 18 months.
Find out more about Probate and Estate Planning Solutions.