The Lovedays Solicitors team is hugely experienced to help people cope with the loss of a loved one. To try and help you through the legal jargon we have put together some frequently asked questions.
The first few days after the death of a loved one can be the most difficult. As well as having to deal with your loss you also must inform friends and family members, register the death and deal with the funeral arrangements.
There are other things that you should consider like are their assets secure. If their house is now empty you should make sure that it is secure and safe.
Everything they own forms what is called their ‘estate’.
The estate will have to pay off all their debts including funeral expenses, loans bills and legal fees. To do this it is likely that you will need authority to deal with the estate itself.
You don’t always need a Wills solicitor to deal with someone’s estate but it can make it easier as we will be able to deal with the paperwork and complicated elements that are required.
A Grant of Probate is a document naming the executors of a will or the people responsible for distributing or carrying out wishes in the will and confirms that they have the authority to do so.
Grant of probate is needed to give authority to executors and other named people.
Visit our Grant of Probate page to find out more.
A grant of letters of administration is a document proving you have the authority to manage somebody’s estate. Once issued, this document allows you to act as the administrator of the estate. This allows you to distribute assets, close accounts and sell properties.
To find out more, please visit our Grant of Letters of Administration page.
It may interest you to know that legal fees for a solicitor’s advice with regard to an estate can be paid out of the estate.
If you would like to find out more about the likely costs, please visit our charges page.
Where the amount of money held in savings and investments is less than £5,000.00 at any single financial institution, a Grant of Representation (i.e. a Grant of Probate or Letters of Administration) may not be necessary. This limit is being changed in April 2019 to £50,000. Please contact us for more details. It is always worth checking with the institution in question first. However, no financial institution is obliged to release money without sight of a Grant of Representation despite the size of the amount of money they hold.
A Deed of Variation may be used to change the terms of a Will (or the intestacy rules) within two years of the date of death in order to reduce an inheritance tax liability. All beneficiaries must agree to any changes but it is very important that you take legal advice to ensure that the deed has the effect you want.
If the estate is more than the nil-rate band then the estate usually does not have to pay any Inheritance Tax. There are in certain circumstances some reliefs and exemptions which may apply. Generally speaking, if someone leaves their whole estate to their spouse no Inheritance Tax is payable. Please contact us for more details.
If you believe that a will is wrong or not reflecting the deceased final wishes you might decide to contest it. To contest a will, it is strongly advised to use a solicitor to guide you through the process.
To find out more information, please visit our Contesting a Will page.
Depending on your situation, using a solicitor can help guide and advise you in difficult legal matters.
To see if your situation warrants a solicitor, please use our free enquiry and one of your solicitors will do what they can to help you.
In short no. If you are the executor, then you can whose who you like. Sometimes when writing their Will people choose a solicitor or another professional to act as executor. If this is the case then that person will likely have to be the executor of the Estate.
If there is no Will then someone who is able should apply for a Grant of Letters of administration.
As an executor, you are put in charge of the deceased estate. You will have to gather all the assets and also find all of the debts. Once the debts are paid off including funeral expenses and legal costs, you will distribute the remainder to the beneficiaries
It can be a very complex and lengthy process. If you have any questions about your responsibilities as an executor, then please do not hesitate to contact us.
Don’t panic, it may be the case that they did not have a valid Will at the time of their death. You may want to write to the bank or solicitors they had dealing with to see if they hold the Will or a copy.
If you are in doubt contact us and we can guide you through the process.
Lovedays Solicitors, Potter and Co Solicitors and Andrew Macbeth Cash and Co Solicitors are the trading names of Derbyshire Legal Services Limited which is a company registered in England and Wales under company number 08838592. Registered office Sherwood House, 1 Snitterton Road, Matlock, Derbyshire, DE4 3LZ.
Authorised and Regulated by the Solicitors Regulation Authority under SRA ID number 637916.