Probate is the legal process of administering the estate of someone who has died. This is usually carried out by one or more of the people named as Executors in the deceased’s Will, which can be a daunting responsibility for those who are unused to handling such matters.
Tayntons’ probate solicitors and lawyers, based in Gloucester, are highly experienced in all aspects of the probate process, meaning we can guide you smoothly and confidently through everything you need to do as an Executor. We can ensure all of the key legal details are taken care of, giving you complete peace of mind that you have properly carried out your responsibilities as an Executor.
Whether you need a helping hand to make sure you are properly carrying out your duties or would prefer us to handle the entire estate administration process for you, we can provide all the help and support you need.
Find out more about the benefits of using a solicitor for probate.
Our probate services
If you have been named as the Executor of a Will, we can support you through the entire probate process, giving as much assistance as you need to allow you to confidently carry out your duties.
When acting as an Executor, you will first need to gain control of the deceased’s estate. This is done with a Grant of Probate which gives you the right to administer the deceased’s estate, including things such as selling their home and making the bequests set out in their Will.
To apply for a Grant of Probate you will need to work out the value of the estate. If tax is due you must report this to HMRC and arrange for any tax to be paid. If no inheritance tax is payable, you will still need to complete an inheritance tax form and submit this along with the application for the Grant of Probate.
Our probate solicitors and lawyers can help with all of these issues, making the process of being granted probate as simple and stress-free as possible.
There are often a lot of important details and paperwork to stay on top of when administering an estate, something that many Executors find intimidating. We can advise and support you or manage the entire estate administration process for you, allowing you to be sure that everything has been taken care of correctly.
If a loved one has died without leaving a Will, their estate will typically be dealt with according to the standard rules of intestacy. These rules set out who should inherit depending on what living relatives the deceased has.
If you wish to take charge of handling the estate of a loved one who has died without leaving a Will, you will need to apply for Letters of Administration. We can guide through this process and help with all of the practical issues involved in administering the estate.
Common questions about probate
How long does probate take?
As a general rule, if there is no inheritance tax to pay a grant of probate can typically be secured in around 3 to 4 months and the entire probate process generally takes around 6-12 months.
However, there is no strict time limit for how long probate can take and if there is inheritance tax to pay or other issues to resolve, it can take significantly longer.
Exactly how long probate takes will depend on the circumstances, including whether there is property and/or other assets to sell, how quickly the asset holders respond to enquiries, how easy the beneficiaries are to track down and where there are any disputes over the contents of the Will or the probate process.
How much does probate cost?
The cost of probate will depend on exactly what is involved. For straightforward estates, we are often able to deal with many of the processes involved, such as securing a grant of probate, on a fixed fee basis.
Where there are more complex issues, such as a contested Will, we may need to charge for our services on the basis of a pre-agreed hourly rate.
When is probate required?
While a grant of probate is usually required to deal with the estate of someone who has passed away, there are some circumstances where it may not be necessary.
If the deceased’s entire estate is valued at less than £5,000, then a grant of probate may not be needed as the estate would likely not pass the threshold for probate to be required.
A grant of probate may also be unnecessary if all of the deceased’s assets were held jointly with another person (e.g. if their home was owned with their spouse as ‘joint tenants’).
How long after probate is granted does it take to receive an inheritance?
Once probate has been granted, it typically takes up to 6 months for bequests from the estate to be distributed to the beneficiaries. However, there is no strict time limit, so this is not a legal requirement.
If you believe the Executor or Estate Administrator handling probate is delaying distribution of the estate without good reason, you may be able to have them removed and replaced as an Executor.
How can you have the Executor of a Will removed?
If you believe the Executor of a Will has not been carrying out their duties properly, you may be able to apply to a court to have them removed and replaced.
Examples of situations where you may have grounds for removing and replacing an Executor include where:
- There has been an unreasonable delay between a grant of probate and distribution of funds
- The Executor appears to have spent money from the estate inappropriately
- The Executor is unable to produce proper estate accounts when reasonably requested
To help avoid disputes over the conduct of the person administering an estate, we recommend using our solicitors as Executors for probate.
Can Tayntons act as Executors?
Yes. We would be delighted to talk you through the process and explain how we would deal with your estate as your Executors and make the process quicker and easier for everyone involved. Our aim is to give you all of the information you need in order to make an informed choice.
How do you get a copy of a Will?
Until probate is granted, the only people legally entitled to see a copy of the Will are those named as Executors in the Will.
The deceased should have informed the named Executors where the Will was stored. Commonly, the solicitor who drafted the Will will have the original.
If you are not named as an Executor in the Will, you have no legal right to see the Will before probate is granted. However, in practice, if you are a beneficiary of the Will, an Executor will often be happy to let you see the Will.
Once Grant of Probate has been obtained, the Will becomes a public document, meaning it is available for anyone to see.
Can probate be stopped?
If you wish to contest a Will, you can ‘enter a caveat’ with your local probate registry at any time before probate has been granted. This will then prevent probate from being granted for the next six months unless you withdraw the caveat. You can also renew the caveat as many times as you like, meaning probate can theoretically be delayed indefinitely.
See how we can help with inheritance disputes & contentious probate.
What else is involved?
In order to accurately calculate the value of an individual’s estate, all assets such as property, investments, money in banks and savings accounts and personal possessions need to be identified and accounted for, and all debts and legacies (gifts) will need to be settled before transferring the remaining sum to the named beneficiaries in the Will.
In reality, however, administering an estate also requires the Executors and Trustee(s) to:
- notify all of the beneficiaries and other interested parties;
- calculate and pay any Inheritance Tax and Income Tax that is due; and
- fulfil all of the other various legal and financial obligations that exist when administering an estate.
Obtaining a grant of probate can be a complicated, time-consuming task that comes at a distressing and emotional time for all of those involved. Expert, supportive legal advice should be sought at the earliest opportunity.
Why choose Tayntons probate solicitors?
Tayntons’ probate solicitors and lawyers offer practical, empathetic support for all aspects of the probate process to Executors and other interested parties in Gloucester and throughout Gloucestershire, including Cheltenham and the Forest of Dean and further afield.
Working alongside our probate team, we have a very reliable residential property team who can assist with all of the property issues that tend to arise during the probate process, such as selling property and transfer of title.
Tayntons has achieved Lexcel accreditation from the Law Society, recognising the strength of our practice management and client care. We are independently regulated by the Solicitors Regulation Authority (SRA) providing assurance that we continually meet the highest legal and professional standards.
Get in touch with our probate solicitors in Gloucester
Need help with any aspect of probate in Gloucester, Cheltenham, the Forest of Dean or anywhere in Gloucestershire? Please contact us today by calling 0800 158 4147, emailing us at firstname.lastname@example.org or requesting a call back.