The court procedure
Probate is the procedure for obtaining public recognition of the last Will of a person who dies leaving assets in England and Wales. It authenticates the right of the executors named in it to assume their role. In the absence of a Will, the court will authorise people to administer the estate in accordance with the rules of intestacy laid down by statute.
The administration of the estate is, in essence, the task of identifying all assets and liabilities, paying all liabilities and then distributing the remaining assets in accordance with the Will or otherwise in accordance with the law.
While seemingly straightforward, administering an estate can be very complex and time consuming. The task of the executors or administrators is onerous and it is important they take good advice to avoid mistakes and in some cases to escape personal liability.
When an estate has been administered, the whole or part of the assets may be held in an ongoing trust and matters of trust and trust administration will arise.
Levels of service
Some people may feel able to carry out much of the process themselves. We are happy to provide the level of service to suit the circumstances. But well timed legal advice and help could save a lot of time and trouble as well as reduce tax, perhaps substantially.
Complex issues may arise. There may be overseas aspects. We regularly deal with the court process here of resealing probates obtained abroad and arrange the overseas court process for foreign assets. Advice may be needed to gain the full exemptions to inheritance tax. Issues may arise concerning the disposal of a business interest or family trusts.
It is of vital importance to get good initial advice on the Revenue rules relating to valuations to avoid penalties and the overpayment of tax.