Do I need to use a solicitor for probate?
January 20, 2023
It’s a matter of choice as to whether you use a solicitor for probate, but you should consider if you have time to be gathering all the information and filling out the paperwork by the require deadlines. Depending on the circumstances, getting probate can be a long and complex process, plus there are risks involved that may leave you personally financially liable.
Find out more in this conversation from Marsons Solicitors Partners, Beth King and Jennifer White.
At Marsons we can offer you as much help as you need; we can handle everything for you, or we can just apply for the Grant of Probate and you can distribute the assets to the beneficiaries. To see how we can help, contact Beth King today on 020 8313 1300 or email@example.com.
Do I have to use a solicitor for probate?
A conversation with Marsons Partners, Beth King and Jennifer White
J: Turning to probably the most common question, in terms of probate, which is do we need to use a solicitor?
B: The short answer is, no you don’t. It’s always a matter of choice. It’s a question of, have you got enough time to be running around, finding out about the assets, closing bank accounts? Do you understand what the terms of the will are? Are you absolutely sure you fully understand who’s entitled to what? When it comes to completing Inheritance Tax forms, if there is going to be Inheritance Tax to pay, or if the estate is over a certain amount of money, then it’s a long IHT400 form and it has all sorts of schedules depending on the various assets that you’ve got. So that can be quite tricky to fill in properly and then obviously you’ve got to arrange to pay the tax. You’ve got to do the probate application, and again that can be complicated, especially if you’re dealing with intestacy. It’s easier if there’s a will but if there’s intestacy, you’ve got to explain in the forms why you’re the person entitled rather than anybody else in the family, for example.
B: You’ve also got to make sure you locate all the assets and any debts, and it may be that you have to advertise for creditors to come forward to make sure that you’ve actually found everybody that needs to be paid before you can pay any money out to beneficiaries. So, there’s a lot to do and you need to work out, have you really got the time to do it? How confident are you that you’re going to fill the forms in properly, and also that you’ve claimed all the exemptions and transferred any reliefs that may have been available to the previous partner who died, for example. There are quite complicated things you need to consider so you might need to get advice from a solicitor at the very least but you may decide you just want a solicitor to do it all for you.
J: Yes, I mean I think in the end you can do it yourself, but it may be much more helpful for you and your family if a solicitor does it for you.
B: Yes, absolutely. We’re quite used to people turning up with plastic bags full of papers and I will just wade through them and work out what’s what, and then fill the forms in for you and just provide it all to you for you to sign. I can just do the Grant of Probate bit, which means basically finding out about the assets, filling in the Inheritance Tax forms and doing the probate application, and then once the Grant of Probate or Letters of Administration comes in, then I just hand it over to you, and you go to the banks with it and get the money and distribute the money.
J: Yes, but obviously with more complicated estates, you probably would do the whole lot?
B: Yes, it would be sensible to do all of it. Also, if there are any children inheriting, that can be quite difficult because they can’t actually inherit large sums of money until they’re 18, so the money would have to be held in trust until they reach that age, and there may be trusts where the money under the will, they don’t actually get until they’re say 25, so you would need help to set up trusts and so on to administer all of that, because it could be for many years if they’re quite young children.
The information contained in this article is intended for general guidance only. It provides useful information but it is not a substitute for obtaining legal advice as the articles do not take into account specific circumstances. So do please Contact US for legal advice on the issues raised.