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Here to help when you need it most

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 solicitors 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 excluded 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 expertise and experience

Our solicitors have many years of experience in handling estates of significant complexity, including:

  • Estates where there are extensive gifts to charity, including where charities have been dissolved, re-named or merged.
  • Estates where there is no Will and complicated legal rules apply as to the distribution of the estate.
  • Wills that are incomplete or imprecise that require interpretation.
  • Complicated estates with business, agricultural or overseas assets.
  • Locating beneficiaries of unknown whereabouts that require tracing.

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, experts 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 diligence. We also know that costs can be a concern. You can find out more about our fees here.

How do I know if the person left a Will?

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 no Will can be found, then the rules of intestacy will apply.

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.

A team you can trust

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 Head Office), 0118 418 1000 (Reading), 0118 418 1200 (Reading Central), 01256 584000 (Basingstoke), 01483 370100 (Guildford), 01494 629000 (Beaconsfield), 01344 513000 (Ascot), 01635 785 100 (Newbury), 01962 587900 (Winchester), 023 8200 2111 (Southampton), 01727 295 555 (St Albans) or email info@kjsmith.co.uk.

We also serve a wide range of other areas including Abingdon, Bracknell, Gerrards Cross, Maidenhead, Marlow, Oxford, Slough, Wokingham, Pangbourne, and High Wycombe.

Our Office Locations

All our offices are easily accessible by road, rail or bus and we are open Monday to Friday from 9:00am to 5:30pm.

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 (Head Office) Reading, Reading (Central), Basingstoke, Guildford, Beaconsfield, Ascot, Newbury & Winchester, St Albans, and Southampton. We serve a wide range of other areas including Abingdon, Bracknell, Gerrards Cross, Maidenhead, Marlow, Oxford, Slough, High Wycombe and Wokingham.

Why not contact our team of divorce solicitors for a free initial consultation today? We offer a free initial consultation that can take place in any one of our offices or over the telephone.

Client Testimonials

We are proud to have represented many excellent clients. Below are some comments our clients have made about us.

Join Our Team

Join Our Team

We are always looking for exceptional people to join our team.

Whether you are considering a move now or at some point in the future, we would love to hear from you and learn more about your career goals and motivations.

At K J Smith we pride ourselves on our commitment to offering support, guidance and career development across all roles. You will receive a competitive salary along with a comprehensive range of benefits.

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Kulbir Rahi

Kulbir Rahi

Partner at our Ascot office

"I joined K J Smith with an open mind and with the expectation of developing and adding diversity and challenge to my career, having spent 23 years in a comfortable position with a traditional high street practice.

I can honestly say that K J Smith have exceeded my expectations. Since joining, I have felt supported and encouraged by the firm’s continued commitment to growth and improvement. The company allow staff at all levels to have a voice and recognise the importance of investment in their employees at every level."

Read other staff testimonials here.

Free Consultation

Free Initial Consultation

To find out how we can help you, please contact us for a free initial consultation. Call or email, we will be happy to speak to you about your options and how we can help.