Applying for Probate during the coronavirus lockdown

Dealing with the estate of somebody who has died can been difficult.  Apart from the emotional turmoil that follows a death in the family, you are faced with endless amounts of paperwork and legal processes which can result in a great deal of confusion.

During these challenging times, the Wills and Probate department at Phillips Solicitors is on hand to assist you if you are dealing with the loss of a loved one.

In most cases, ‘Probate’ is required before the family can deal with the assets of the person who has died. This is required irrespective of whether the deceased had a Will.   Applying for Probate involves a twofold process. The first is to declare the value of the estate to HMRC for tax purposes. Then, following this, a Court application can be made to the Probate Registry, which is the Court that issues what is called the Grant of Probate. 

The Court has recently introduced a way of filing Probate applications online. However, this does not mean that the process is any way simpler than previously. 

Once you have obtained Probate, the wishes in the deceased’s Will must be carried out, but if there is no Will, then their estate must be distributed to the people who are entitled under the rules of intestacy; these set out a strict order of entitlement. 

Our clients find it very useful that we operate a client account, which means that we can collect the sale and closure proceeds of any assets, to include property and bank accounts, ready for distribution to the beneficiaries.  This negates the need to set up an Executor’s account by you, something which is proving difficult in the current circumstances. 

In terms of the legal fees involved, you may find that other companies offering a Probate service (who are quite often not solicitors) will either charge a percentage commission or will have a rigid fee structure whereby their fees will rise sharply if any unexpected matters arise.  By comparison, and in line with most solicitors firms, our charges reflect the amount of time we actually spend in dealing with the estate, and in most cases, we are happy for any fees to be paid from the estate itself.  

If you are in the unfortunate position of dealing with an estate of somebody who has died or if you are an Executor who requires assistance, our helpful legal advisers will be happy to assist you and guide you through the process. 

To find out more please contact our Wills and Probate team:

Lucy Watson on 01256 854646 or by emailing [email protected]

Claire-Marie Selwood on 01256 854622 or by emailing [email protected]

Laura Karon on 01256 854618 or by emailing [email protected]

During these difficult times our Town Gate office in Basingstoke is temporarily closed to visitors unless by prior appointment when meeting in person is essential. However, thanks to our lawyers being able to work remotely, Phillips remains fully open for business and can discuss Wills and Probate issues or any other legal matters by telephone and video conference.

 

Disclaimer

This article is current at the date of publication set out above and is for reference purposes only. It does not constitute legal advice and should not be relied on as such. Specific legal advice about your specific circumstances should always be sought separately before taking any action.