PROBATE AND DEALING WITH A DECEASED’S ESTATE

Dealing with the affairs of someone who has died is often a daunting and stressful task at what is clearly a difficult time.

Issues can arise regarding rights of access to the deceased person’s estate and what happens if the deceased person has not made a Will.

After someone dies, if there is a Will and an Executor has been appointed, their money, property and possessions need to be dealt with by the Executor named in the Will. This means that they make sure that the spouse or civil partner is aware of the right to distribute the estate in accordance with the Will and the law.

Where there is no Will, an administrator is appointed, and this will usually be the next of kin or a Solicitor. There are various steps that need to be followed in order to obtain probate. This can be complex, and it is advisable to appoint a Solicitor at Meaby & Co Solicitors to do the job. The Solicitor will be paid out of the estate and will take over the burden of administering the estate at what is an extremely difficult, upsetting and stressful time for the family.

STEPS TO BE TAKEN

  1. Going through the deceased’s paperwork to locate a Will. If there is no Will, the next of kin who can take on the role of administering the estate will need to be identified. If there is any doubt about who is entitled to be the administrator, the issue will be decided by the Probate Registrar. You should also bear in mind that any individual may oppose a Grant of Probate or Letters of Administration. They may lodge a caveat (objection) in the District Probate Registry or at the Probate Office. If this happens, Meaby & Co Solicitors will deal with the issue and assist in resolving any problems in order for the process to proceed.
  2. The Executor or next of kin will have to locate all of the deceased’s documents to include bank statements, mortgage documents, utility bills, passport, correspondence from official institutes e.g. Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) premium bonds etc. If Meaby & Co Solicitors are instructed by you, we will take over all of the paperwork from you and deal with notifying all parties, closing accounts, pay utility bills, mortgages etc. and distribute the residue (balance) of the estate remaining in accordance with the Will. If there is no Will, distribution will be in accordance with the Intestacy Rules.
  3. An advert will be placed in the Gazette and the Law Society Gazette requesting any creditors to come forward with any debts that may be outstanding debts owed to them by the deceased.
  4. Pay any debts owed.
  5. Pay the funeral expenses, if they haven’t already been paid.
  6. Distribute the estate and finally transfer the property into the surviving legal owners or beneficiaries name(s).

If the deceased was in receipt of a pension and/or benefits we must inform the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) to enable them to reclaim any overpayment that may have been made.

Further information and assistance can be obtained by calling one of our specialist, skilled and professional Probate Solicitors at 020 7703 5034 or by email at mwaters@meaby.co.uk.