Why do you need a solicitor for probate?
This is a question people sometimes ask: after all, you can theoretically administer an estate yourself, so why pay a solicitor to help you?
The reality is that, whilst sometimes probates can be relatively easy to deal with, even with straightforward estates there are plenty of challenging issues that can arise and things that can go wrong.
As the Executor of an estate, you are legally responsible for ensuring that the estate administration is carried out correctly, including making sure the estate is valued properly, the right inheritance tax is paid and all of the gifts from the estate are distributed according to the Will.
This means that if anything goes wrong, or you make a mistake, you can be held responsible for it. Having a solicitor assist you with probate is therefore the simplest and most effective way to take some of the burden of responsibility off your shoulders and give you peace of mind that you are correctly carrying out your duty to the deceased and their beneficiaries.
There are also a number of other specific benefits that using a solicitor for probate can offer:
Solicitors are regulated by the Solicitors Regulation Authority (SRA) – This means we abide by strict codes of professional conduct.
Specialist probate solicitors have the experience and expertise to effectively deal with all of the procedural requirements involved in probate – For example, making sure the right tax is paid, any problems are identified and resolved and all accounts are handled with full legal compliance.
Solicitors have professional insurance – Meaning if anything goes wrong with probate, you will be protected.
Solicitors can mediate between family members or deal with third parties in the event of a dispute – This helps keep you as the Executor out of the ‘firing line’ and can make it easier to quickly resolve conflicts.
A probate solicitor can ensure that claims for financial provision by disappointed parties not benefitting under a Will are monitored – This includes adherence to time limits for prospective claims and the making of statutory advertisements (including those from creditors).
A solicitor can take responsibility for distribution of estate funds – They will then have the job of ensuring that the identity of beneficiaries is properly established and that there are no impediments against handing over funds, i.e. a bankrupt beneficiary.
A firm of solicitors can offer other services needed during estate administration – For example, property transactions can be conducted by a firm’s conveyancing department, helping to ensure you receive a reliable service and any delays are kept to a minimum.
Our probate and estate administration fees
The cost of probate and estate administration is an important consideration and must be controlled to ensure that it does not turn out to be excessive.
By and large solicitors instructed by Executors or acting as professional Executors (because they were named as such in the Will) will work according to an agreed hourly rate.
The hourly rate of a probate solicitor is a ‘coverall’ for all work conducted and will usually depend on the solicitor’s expertise and the complexity of the estate and related issues.
We will normally provide an estimate at the outset, based on the amount of time we believe the probate process will take, and then regularly review this estimate with you at all stages so our fees remain transparent and you keep control of the costs at all times.
Get in touch with our probate solicitors in Gloucester
Whether or not an estate seems straightforward to administer, we would always recommend taking initial advice from one of our experienced probate solicitors. We will always offer an honest assessment of the issues we believe you may need assistance with so you can make an informed decision about how much help you require.
Whether you simply need some initial advice and guidance, want help with specific issues, such as obtaining the Grant of Representation, or would like us to handle the entire probate and estate administration process for you, we will be happy to help.