After a person passes away, there are often legal issues to deal with around their assets and finances. Depending on whether or not the person who passed away left a will, there are different steps to follow. If the entire estate was held in joint names, for example with that of a surviving spouse, then there may not be anything further to do. The same may apply if there are no shares, property or land to deal with. In all other cases, a grant of representation is likely needed.
Types of grant of representation
There are three main types:
When there is a Will, this is issued to the named executors;
- Letters of Administration with Will
This is issued when there is a Will, but the named executors are unable or unwilling to apply for a grant of representation;
- Letters of Administration without Will
This is issued when there is no Will or the Will is invalid.
While probate can be carried out by an individual, given the complex nature of probate law, it is often advisable to get in touch with probate solicitors; in Portsmouth one such solicitor is Andrew & Andrew.
The steps involved
Every probate case is different, but there are four general steps that apply across the board that probate solicitors in Portsmouth can run through in further detail:
- Step 1 – Pay any inheritance tax due. If the deceased has given at least 10% of their net estate to charity, then a reduced inheritance tax rate may apply;
- Step 2 – Collect the assets of the estate. This can take some time to complete, for example if it involves the sale of property or land;
- Step 3 – Pay off any debts from the estate. To ensure all bases are covered it is worth placing a notice in The Gazette so that any creditors can come forward to make a claim;
- Step 4 – Distribute the estate to the appropriate beneficiaries.
The specifics of Step 4 will be dependent on whether or not there is a will. Without a will, intestacy comes into play; the law decides who inherits what. In these circumstances, probate solicitors in Portsmouth can be especially helpful to navigate the complexities of the law.