Why use a solicitor?
It is not a legal requirement to use a solicitor to deal with the administration of your loved one’s estate. It is possible to complete the process yourself. However, being a personal representative brings with it some onerous duties and the probate process often takes months, sometimes years to complete. It is very important that personal representatives can cope with the additional demand on their time.
It is also crucial that personal representatives get the probate process right as they are legally responsible for collecting in the assets, paying all the liabilities and correctly distributing the estate. The role, therefore, carries considerable administrative, tax and legal responsibility.
It is not uncommon for family relationships to break down during the probate process. Arguments can ensue as to who should take what asset, whether to sell assets quickly or negotiate for a higher price. A solicitor can help avoid such infighting and the solicitor’s fees can be paid for from the deceased’s estate.
There are certain complicated circumstances when it might be advisable for personal representatives to use a solicitor in order to protect themselves from potential claims from beneficiaries, disappointed family members and potential creditors of the estate. You should always consult a solicitor in the following circumstances:
- a will cannot be located;
- the will appears to be invalid;
- a beneficiary cannot be found;
- the terms of the will are not clear;
- the estate is subject to inheritance tax;
- there is no will and the value of the estate is over £250,000 and the deceased leaves a spouse or civil partner and children;
- the beneficiaries are minors;
- the deceased left money or property in trust;
- the deceased owned a business or was a partner in a business;
- the deceased owned land or property;
- the deceased owned land or property abroad;
- if the deceased inherited from another estate within the last two years;
- the estate is insolvent or there are doubts about insolvency;
- the deceased is involved in any court proceedings;
- the deceased or their spouse are domiciled abroad;
- dependents have been deliberately left out of the will.
For anything further, one of our specialists would be delighted to meet you either in our office or in your own home to talk through your requirements and answer any questions. Please contact us at any time.