Probate Solicitors

There is a huge amount to deal with when a loved one dies which can only begin once a grant of probate or letters of administration have been obtained. The person or people entitled to apply are outlined in the will of the deceased or set out in the rules of intestacy if there is no will.

Handling probate is a stressful process, particularly when you are grieving for the loss of your loved one. At Morlings Solicitors in Maidstone, we have a team of probate lawyers who can assist with the probate process. We aim to provide as much support as you need to reduce the pressure on you and allow you to focus on taking care of yourself and your family during this difficult time.

Working alongside you, we can:

  • Advise you on whether a grant of probate is required
  • Complete and lodge the application on your behalf
  • Deal with any queries that are raised by the Probate Registry
  • Lodge a notice preventing a grant of probate being issued until any disagreements have been resolved
  • Ensure any inheritance tax is paid or deferred
  • Help administer your loved one’s estate after the grant has been made to ensure all liabilities are settled and everyone receives their inheritance
  • Advise on circumstances where it might be appropriate to vary the will or the rules of intestacy to make provision for other relatives or to save tax

Even for those who do not feel like they need additional support, the advice of a specialist solicitor during this time can be vital. If your application to the Probate Registry is incorrect in any way it could be rejected, causing lengthy delays and additional problems at an already stressful time.

Similarly, if there are any questions raised regarding the validity of the will or who should be applying for probate, you will need the help of a professional to move forward.

Advising families throughout Kent and beyond

We have offices in Maidstone, Gravesend, Tonbridge, Chatham and Tenterden where we can meet you to discuss your requirements.

Give us a call at your local branch or fill in our online enquiry form and we can set up an initial meeting to discuss how the probate process will work and how we can help.

We can also offer meetings at your home, in hospital or in a care facility, and in exceptional circumstances a telephone appointment can be arranged via skype.

Funding

An initial appointment to discuss your requirements can be arranged from £150 plus VAT.  After that we can agree funding arrangements to suit your budget.

For information about our flexible fee structures, including fixed fees and hourly rates, please visit our Probate Pricing page.

Probate FAQs

What is probate?

Probate and estate administration is the process of sorting out someone’s money, property and financial obligations (collectively referred to as their ‘estate’) after they die.

The person who takes on the role of probate and estate administration must apply to the Probate Registry for permission to start. Only certain people are entitled to make this application:

  • If there is a will:

Anyone named as an executor can apply for a grant of probate.

  • If there is no will:

Someone who is entitled to inherit under the rules of intestacy can apply for a grant of letters of administration.

What do the executors of a will do?

The executors (or administrators if there is no will) are responsible for doing things like:

  • Gathering the deceased person’s money and property from its various sources (e.g. bank accounts, savings accounts, pensions) and valuing the estate
  • Selling property
  • Calculating and paying inheritance tax
  • Paying off the deceased person’s debts
  • Distributing inheritance to the beneficiaries under the terms of the will or in accordance with the rules of intestacy if there is no will

What happens if someone dies without making a will?

This is called ‘dying intestate’. When someone dies intestate, their estate is distributed according to the rules of intestacy rather than the terms of a will. Only certain people are allowed to inherit under the rules of intestacy – this tends to be the deceased’s closest relatives, such as their spouse, civil partner and/or children. Unmarried partners and step children are not allowed to inherit.

Because there is no will to give someone permission to apply for a grant of probate, anyone entitled to inherit under the rules of intestacy can apply to become an administrator and their job is essentially the same as an executor’s. There is a hierarchy of people under the rules of intestacy, from spouses/civil partners at the top to half relatives at the bottom. If multiple people apply, whoever has the highest priority will get the grant.

How long does probate take?

Applying for the grant of probate should take around 4 weeks, although, at the moment it could take up to 12-14 weeks.

Once probate has been granted, the estate administration process takes around 9 to 12 months. However, this varies depending on individual circumstances. For example, if there is property to sell, the process will take longer than if the deceased only had bank accounts.

If someone takes legal action against the estate, for example, a challenge against the validity of the will, the process will take even longer.

We will provide further advice about how long the process could be expected to take at your first meeting with us upon consideration of the individual circumstances of your matter.

Do you always need to go through probate?

You may not need to apply for probate in certain circumstances, for example, if the estate is very small or only made up of cash. However, it is still important to seek legal advice because you may still be required to take steps such as properly distributing any inheritance and contacting HMRC in regards to inheritance tax (even if there is no tax to pay).

Where do I find the will?

Your first steps should be to check among the deceased person’s personal belongings, ask family members or contact their solicitor as they may have it stored. If you cannot find it, you can check with the Probate Service to check whether a will has been registered.

If you have taken all possible steps and still cannot locate a will, they likely died intestate. We can provide further advice about what to do in this situation.

Get in touch with our probate solicitors in Maidstone, Kent

We have offices in Maidstone, Gravesend, Tonbridge, Chatham and Tenterden where we can meet you to discuss your requirements.

Give us a call at your local branch or fill in our online enquiry form and we can set up an initial meeting to discuss how the probate process will work and how we can help.

We can also offer meetings at your home, in hospital or in a care facility, and in exceptional circumstances a telephone appointment can be arranged via skype.

 

For further information please call to speak to one of our experts on 01622 673081