Probate and Estate Administration – Compare Fixed Fee Quotes
Probate and Letters of Administration – What are they?
Grant of representation is the legal authority from the court which permits the executors of a Will to deal with a deceased person’s estate (known as probate), or to appoint a solicitor to do the work on their behalf.
If there is no Will, then the deceased’s next of kin will need to obtain a grant of letters of administration so that they obtain the legal right to administer the estate.
A grant of probate or letters of administration will be necessary if the estate is valued at more than £5,000, and contains bank or building society accounts, or land, buildings or property that was solely owned by the deceased. An estate worth under £5,000 is known as a small estate.
Who can apply for a grant of probate or letters of administration?
Only the executor or executors named in the Will may apply for the grant of probate (or a solicitor acting on their behalf). In the absence of a Will, the deceased’s next of kin are responsible for applying for the letters of administration, and for overseeing the administration of the estate, and are known as “administrators”.
What is estate administration?
Estate administration is the process of gathering in and administering a deceased person’s estate according to their wishes as set out in their Will. Assets must be gathered and valued, and all debts must be paid off before the remainder of the estate can be distributed among beneficiaries. If there is no Will – or no legally enforceable Will – then after any debts have been paid, the remaining estate is distributed in line with the rules of intestacy.
Will you need a solicitor?
Probate and administering an estate can be complex and care must be taken to ensure that the law is adhered to at all times. Using an Oratto solicitor who is experienced in these matters will help alleviate the worry and stress that a layperson may feel, especially if they are attempting to undertake the probate process without legal assistance. An experienced probate solicitor will deal with the legalities of probate and estate administration, as well as providing you with valuable guidance along the way. This leaves you free to focus on your loved ones and your own grieving process.
Do you need to use a local solicitor?
No, all Oratto member solicitors accept cases nationwide, and are set up to act efficiently for clients who do not live nearby. You won’t need to have face-to-face meetings, which can often mean having to take time off work; instead, communications are conducted over the ‘phone, by letter or by email – swift and efficient.
What if there is no Will or one can’t be found?
If, after a search of the deceased’s home, you are unable to find the Will, you should check with family members and local solicitors to see if one has been stored with them. You can also write to the Principal Probate Registry to see if a Will has been registered.
Oratto’s specialist probate solicitors are experienced in searching for lost Wills, and working with intestate estates. If no Will can be found, then the estate is classed as “intestate” and must be administered under the rules of intestacy.
What are codicils and letters of wishes?
A codicil is a legally binding amendment to an existing Will. A codicil, which is a separate document to the Will, must be signed and witnessed in the same way as a Will would be to make it valid.
A codicil can change as little as a single word or significantly change important portions of the Will. However, they are usually used to make small, minor revisions or to add an additional bequest to a new or existing beneficiary. There is no limit to the number of codicils that can be attached to a Will.
A letter of wishes is a supplementary document to a Will and isn’t legally binding. A letter of wishes can be used to give loved ones additional information, for example, small personal items to be given as gifts to family members or friends. In some cases, these ‘letters’ are used to explain why certain family members have been left out of a Will. A letter of wishes may also be used to leave more personal information for the executors, such as specific requests for funeral arrangements, or advice for guardians on how the testator would like children to be brought up, where they should live, their education and so forth.
What is a professional executor?
A professional executor is a solicitor, bank or other financial institution named in a Will by the testator. A professional executor will charge for carrying out any work related to dealing with the estate. Often the fees will not have been agreed in advance, and could be much higher than you feel is acceptable.
You do not have to use the professional executor, or their firm, to deal with estate administration; you are free to choose an alternative firm. Oratto can advise you on your options, and what steps to take.
How long does it take to complete probate and the estate administration?
It usually takes around six to eight weeks to obtain the grant of probate or letters of administration. Full settlement of the estate, including the distribution of assets, is likely to take around six to nine months. If the estate is more complex, or the Will is being contested, it may take more than a year to resolve any issues.
Fixed Fee Probate and Estate Administration Quotes
Oratto’s quote calculator allows you to compare a range of fixed fee quotes for probate and estate administration from a variety of specialist solicitors.
Simply complete the questions in the calculator about the deceased’s estate and you will be presented with quotes instantly on your laptop, tablet or mobile phone. You will then be able to compare the quotes and the individual solicitors, before selecting the professional who you feel is right to handle your loved one’s estate.
You will not have to pay any legal fees upfront, as all legal fees are paid out from the estate once probate has been granted.
Oratto will be there to support you throughout the process and we are happy to provide you with you any advice on practical matters that you may require.
To begin comparing fixed fee probate and estate administration quotes today, please click here: Compare Probate Quotes
You can also contact us through our National Helpline on 01243 850603 or by email: firstname.lastname@example.org