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Probate, Intestacy & Estate Management

It is never easy when someone close to you passes away and the prospect of dealing with their affairs as a personal representative can be particularly stressful when you are grieving. Working with experienced probate, intestacy and estate management solicitors can take the pressure off you while providing assurance that every detail will be handled correctly.

When someone passes away there are a number of things which need to be carried out. These include registering the death within the appropriate time limit, securing any assets, arranging the funeral, settling any debts and applying for the grant of probate or grant of letters of administration.

At Glanvilles, our friendly probate solicitors want to make this time as straightforward as possible for you. We can handle the entirety of the probate and estate administration process on your behalf so that you can focus on taking care of yourself and your family.

We have been awarded the Law Society Wills and Inheritance Quality Scheme accreditation for our high quality advice and personal service in the area of probate and estate administration.

Get in touch with our probate, intestacy and estate management solicitors

You can contact our probate solicitors in West Sussex and Hampshire at your local branch in ChichesterFarehamHavant or Petworth.

Alternatively, you can fill in our online enquiry form and a member of our team will be in touch shortly.

How our probate solicitors can help

We understand that every individual is different and needs a different level of support. We can help with:

  • Obtaining the Will and lodging it at the local probate registry
  • Applying for the grant of probate (if there is a valid Will) or letters of administration (if there is no valid Will)
  • Ensuring the correct amount of Inheritance Tax is paid and/or filing the tax return at HMRC
  • Providing advice on your role and responsibilities as an executor
  • Carrying out aspects of your role on your behalf
  • Handling contested probate matters, such as inheritance claims and challenges to the validity of a Will
  • Contesting probate where there is no valid Will

How else can we help?

Glanvilles can assist executors and, if appointed under a Will, we can act as executor and deal with a wide range of estates. We understand that every estate is different. Whether it contains a variety of assets and trusts or simply comprises a property and perhaps a bank account, we are happy to assist with all aspects of dealing with probate.

How does probate work?

If there is a valid Will

If the deceased left a Will, there will be one or more executors who have been appointed to administer the estate. They will be responsible for dealing with probate on the estate.

We understand that applying for probate can be a complicated process and so we offer various options for assisting with the application for grant of probate and with the ongoing administration of the estate.

If a Will does exist, the Executors may need to apply for the grant of probate depending on which assets were held by the deceased and how they held them. For example, if a property is owned as tenants in common between the deceased and their surviving spouse, grant of probate is required in order to transfer the property into the sole name of the survivor. This is also the case for properties in the sole name of the deceased which pass to the survivor under the Will.

Also, some financial institutions (such as banks and building societies) may require probate to release funds over a certain amount to the executor, even if it is stipulated in the Will that funds are to pass to a particular beneficiary.

Issues can arise where there are disagreements between executors or where the executors are unwilling or unable to act. We can also provide advice if a situation such as this appears likely to arise in your case. Wherever possible, we can anticipate and avoid disputes. We also have a specialist contested probate service for where issues do arise.

If there is not a valid Will

If someone passes away without leaving a valid Will, the intestacy rules will apply. There are a number of situations where this can arise:

  • If the deceased did not make a Will;
  • If the deceased made a Will but it was later revoked or cancelled;
  • If the deceased made an invalid Will.

Who completes the process when someone passes away without a Will is determined by an order set out in legislation, this will depend upon who has survived the deceased. This person is called the ‘personal representative’ or ‘administrator’.

The personal representative must apply for the grant of letters of administration. This gives the personal representative the legal right to administer the estate, once the probate has been granted

Our intestacy solicitors are experienced in dealing with applications for probate and dealing with the administration of an estate. We are happy to guide you through the process, whether you simply require help with the probate application, or whether you would like assistance with administering the estate as well.

Who can apply for probate?

If there is a valid Will, then the people named as executors in that Will can apply for probate. If the Will was updated with a codicil, anyone named as executors in the codicil can apply for probate instead.

In the event that the named executors have died before probate can be applied for, then it would normally be the nearest living relative of the deceased who has the right to apply for probate.

If there is no Will then, again, it would be the nearest living relative who would apply to administer the estate. This is referred to as ‘applying for letters of administration’ rather than applying for probate.

Our specialist probate solicitors can advise on any of these scenarios, making sure the right people can gain control of the estate so it can be administered promptly.

How long does it take?

Exactly how long a probate application takes will depend on the circumstances, however, it will typically take up to 16 weeks for grant of probate or letters of administration following an application.

Dealing with probate or estate administration once you have control of the estate can take a few months or much longer, depending on how complex the issues involved are. For example, if there is a property that needs to be sold, this can significantly extend the time involved.

Our probate solicitors can work closely with you to help ensure the process goes ahead as quickly as possible, avoiding any unnecessary delays.

What is the cost of estate administration?

For an estate administration, the cost will depend on the size of the estate and how much support you need. In many cases, we can agree a fixed cost in advance but for some estates, it may be more suitable to work to an agreed hourly rate.

For more information about estate administration costs, you can review our probate pricing.

Who inherits when someone dies without a Will?

When someone dies without a Will, then their estate will be dealt with under the rules of intestacy set by the government. These rules set out exactly who can inherit in different scenarios.

In general, intestacy rules favour surviving spouses and civil partners of the deceased, followed by any children of the deceased. Other relatives of the deceased, such as parents and siblings, may also be able to inherit depending on the situation.

Our intestacy solicitors can provide clear advice on your inheritance rights where there is no Will. We can also support you through all stages of dealing with an intestate estate, including applying for letters of administration and administering the estate.

For an indication of who might inherit under intestacy rules, you can use the government’s intestacy tool.

Who cannot inherit?

Something many people do not realise to their cost is that an unmarried partner of a person who has died have no automatic right to inherit if there is no Will. This is why it is particularly important to make a clear will if you are not married to or in a civil partnership with your partner.

That said, an unmarried partner may be able to make a claim against the estate assets under the Inheritance (Provision for Family and Dependants) Act 1975 if they were normally financially dependent on the deceased immediately prior to their death.

If you are in this situation, please get in touch and our team can advise you.

Why choose Glanvilles for help with probate?

Recognition of our expertise

The Glanvilles’ client service promise

When you use our legal service for help with probate, we promise:

  • Our staff will be friendly, respectful and attentive.
  • Your concerns will be listened to, your questions answered and your options explained in plain English.
  • The cost of dealing with your requirements will be made clear to you from the outset.
  • We will answer your phone calls and emails promptly.
  • We will keep you regularly updated at all times.

Get in touch with our probate solicitors in Chichester, Fareham and Havant

Get in touch with our probate solicitors in West Sussex and Hampshire by giving us a call at your local branch in ChichesterFarehamHavant or Petworth.

Alternatively, you can fill in our online enquiry form and a member of our team will be in touch shortly.