Background image

When should you use a Probate Solicitor?

Blog

Deciding whether you need a probate solicitor largely depends on your individual circumstances. For example, if the deceased person had a small amount of money and owned little else, the process is much simpler, and you may be able to administer the estate yourself.

If, however, the deceased person owned a property in their sole name, had multiple assets, there are several beneficiaries or there is a challenge to a Will or the distribution of an estate, it is a good idea to seek the advice of a probate solicitor.

What is the role of a probate solicitor?

Probate is the name usually given to the legal process that takes place after someone dies to administer their estate and distribute their assets to their beneficiaries.

A probate solicitor is a legal professional who specialises in handling the legal process of probate. Their role is to help you navigate the complexities of probate, ensuring that the deceased person’s wishes are carried out and that their assets are distributed according to their Will or the laws of intestacy if no Will exists.

Appointing a probate solicitor can help when:

  • You have been named as the executor of the Will. You may need to obtain a grant of probate before you can begin to administer the estate. A probate solicitor can guide you through this process and help ensure that everything is carried out correctly, or if you choose, obtain the Grant of Probate for you.
  • You are the closest living relative and there is no Will. If the deceased person did not leave a Will, the rules of intestacy would apply to the distribution of their estate. A probate solicitor can advise you on your legal rights and obligations as the closest living relative and help you navigate the probate process.
  • The estate is complex: If the estate is large or complex, with multiple assets and beneficiaries, it is a good idea to seek the advice of a probate solicitor to ensure that everything is handled correctly and that the beneficiaries receive their entitlements.
  • Disputes or challenges are expected: If there are likely to be disputes or challenges to the Will or the distribution of the estate, a probate solicitor can provide valuable assistance in resolving these issues.
  • You need help with tax planning: If the estate is subject to inheritance tax, a probate solicitor can advise on tax planning strategies to help minimise the tax liability for the beneficiaries.

Discover your options – Contact us for a free chat

Do I need a probate solicitor?

You are not legally required to use a probate solicitor in England and Wales, but handling the probate process alone is not an easy task. Depending on the complexity of the deceased person’s estate and your level of expertise in dealing with legal and financial matters, the process can be exceptionally time-consuming and require many hours of administrative work.

Ultimately, the decision to appoint a probate solicitor is an individual one that should be based on your specific circumstances, but here are some factors to consider:

  • The size and complexity of the estate: If the estate is small and straightforward, you may decide to handle the probate process without a probate solicitor. However, if the estate is large or complex, with multiple assets and beneficiaries, the process is likely to be a lot smoother and quicker with the help of a probate solicitor, who will ensure that everything is handled correctly.
  • The executor’s level of experience: A probate solicitor is a specialist in estate administration. They have extensive knowledge of the legal and financial aspects of estate administration. They guide you through the entire probate process, including the valuation of assets, the payment of debts and taxes, and the distribution of the estate. They can also help with many things that you may struggle with alone, such as identifying missing assets, locating beneficiaries, liaising with HMRC and working out what tax reliefs and exemptions can be applied.
  • The presence of any disputes or challenges: If there are any disputes or challenges to the Will or the distribution of the estate (otherwise known as contentious probate), a probate solicitor can provide valuable assistance in resolving these issues and protecting the interests of the beneficiaries.
  • Time constraints: If you are dealing with a tight deadline or if you have other responsibilities, a probate solicitor can help ensure that everything is completed in a timely and efficient manner.

Talk to one of our solicitors free-of-charge

If you are unsure whether you need legal support and advice, one of our probate solicitors is more than happy to have an initial no-obligation chat.

This chat will give you a better understanding of what is involved in the probate process, the complexity of your case, and the costs involved.

We can provide an estimate of fees so that you can make an informed decision about what you would like to do next.

Contact us to arrange a free chat with a probate solicitor