Probate & estate management
When someone dies, someone has to tidy up their affairs. All their property and assets are frozen and cannot be dealt with. If there is a Will that appoints you as executor you have obligations to both HM Revenue & Customs and to the beneficiaries of the Will. You must, in time, apply for a “Grant of Probate”. If there is no Will someone, typically a close relative must follow a similar procedure to apply for “Letters of Administration”.
Some estates are reasonably straightforward; a matrimonial home, a life policy and a few shares. Many clients are faced with sorting out estates of this type. Whilst they do not really understand their legal obligations they do not want to go near a lawyer, for fear that the lawyer will take over and use up all the estate with legal fees.
We understand that concern and are happy to advise clients how to “do it yourself”. Typically such a client might come in for initial advice and come back only when they want to, if they think that things have got too tricky. Some clients like us to do the tricky bits while they do the rest, other estates are so complex that clients prefer to leave the whole business to us.
Whatever service you want we are happy to help. We will not pressurise you into using one service or another, it’s your choice. In the first instance please contact Jonathan Mathers. If you would like us to help you to administer the estate he will involve Nigel Scase, Angela Leonard, Martine Swaep or Louisa Bradberry, executives in our probate team that can do this for you on a very cost effective basis.
We do believe that any executor should at least have one meeting with a lawyer, just to check that there are no issues that are not obvious from the Will. As an example many estates are subject to Inheritance Tax and HMRC will look to you, the executors to personally carry out enquiries, calculate tax correctly and pay it on time. If you fail in that duty they will look to you to pay the tax. There are many other examples; third parties that could challenge the Will, assets that have to be transferred in a particular way and open ended liabilities that have to be closed. It may take just one meeting to give you the peace of mind that there are no such issues, if there are any issues then we can draw on years of experience of similar situations, to solve them for you.
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"May I once again thank you for all your kind attention and help during what was, for me, a very difficult time. This was greatly appreciated."