Probate, or the administration of a deceased person’s estate, can be complicated and daunting. There is often confusing jargon and seemingly incomprehensible documents.
Our team of Probate lawyers are here to help you through this process, explaining complex terminology and offering clarity, expertise and reassurance.
In England and Wales, when someone dies without leaving a valid will, his/her estate (property, money, belongings etc.) must be shared out in accordance to the rules of intestacy.
There are many different family dynamics for which the rules do not account for. It is not uncommon for the family dynamics to be complicated by multiple marriages, divorces, children and stepchildren, and unmarried couples.
These modern family relationships can be overlooked where there is no Will. Under the intestacy rules, only direct family can inherit. Important people in your life (for example step children and unmarried partners) could be ignored when your estate is distributed if you die without a valid Will.
Likewise, estranged family members, who you may not wish to benefit, could benefit from your estate.
Whether or not there is a Will and whether or not you have acted as an executor previously, we can guide and assist you. We can help you through the process of gathering information, completing forms, obtaining the Grant of Probate, gathering in the estate and distributing the estate to the beneficiaries.
Our Probate lawyers have many years of experience in handling estates of significant complexity, including:
There are often significant tax compliance matters to attend to, including bringing lifetime tax affairs up to date, reporting to HMRC on the tax issues relating to the period of the administration of the estate and advising beneficiaries of the taxation of the benefit they are receiving from the estate.
We will ensure that all such matters are dealt with promptly and precisely, liaising with accountants and other professional bodies where necessary, ensuring everything is resolved fully and completely.
Unfortunately, Probate is not always a smooth process. There might be disappointed beneficiaries, problems in relationships between various parties, or even challenges to the validity of the Will.
We can assist in navigating you through all of these issues while doing our utmost to resolve difficulties without recourse to costly and time-consuming court proceedings.
We always carry out our work with compassion, sensitivity and thoroughness. We also know that costs can be a concern. You can find out more about our fees here.
Some people will not reveal if they made a Will or not. If you have permission you could search their home. Alternatively, you could ask their lawyer or bank to see if the original Will is being stored with them.
You can also carry out an online search via Certainty https://www.nationalwillregister.co.uk/
What if I cannot locate a Will?
If there is no partner and no children If there are no surviving relatives, the estate will pass to the Crown, which could mean that friends or unmarried partners will not benefit.
Financial dependents who do not inherit pursuant to the rules of intestacy may have to make a claim under the Inheritance Act.
Further the rules of intestacy do not take into consideration any special requests. All personal possessions will have to be divided up even if the deceased may have verbally promised certain items to specific friends.
It can be extremely stressful, costly and time consuming to deal with an intestate estate.
We offer a free initial 30 minute appointment in one of our offices to give you the opportunity to meet our Probate lawyers, before deciding if you wish to proceed in instructing us to act on your behalf.
Please contact K J Smith Solicitors on 01491 630000 (Henley on Thames), 0118 418 1000 (Reading Head Office), 0118 418 1200 (Reading Central), 01256 584000 (Basingstoke), 01483 370100 (Guildford), 01494 629000 (Beaconsfield), 01344 513000 (Ascot), 01635 785 100 (Newbury), 01962 587900 (Winchester) or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
We also serve a wide range of other areas including Abingdon, Bracknell, Gerrards Cross, Maidenhead, Marlow, Oxford, Slough, Wokingham, and High Wycombe.
All our offices are easily accessible by road, rail or bus and we are open Monday to Friday from 8:30am to 6:00pm. With today's busy schedules, we offer telephone appointments outside normal office hours until 9pm on Thursdays and between 10am and 3pm on Saturdays.
Not sure which office is closest to you? Try our Office Finder.
If you would like to visit our team of family solicitors, we have offices in Henley-on-Thames, Woodley, Reading (Head Office), Reading (Central), Basingstoke, Guildford, Beaconsfield, Ascot, Newbury & Winchester. We serve a wide range of other areas including Abingdon, Bracknell, Gerrards Cross, Maidenhead, Marlow, Oxford, Slough, High Wycombe and Wokingham.