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What happens when a person dies?
When a person dies, whether they make a Will or not, their Estate may need to be administered. This means all assets that person owns, will be dealt with and paid to the correct beneficiaries. Beneficiaries will either be appointed under a Will or paid in accordance with rules which apply when a person dies without leaving a Will (known as the rules of intestacy).
For more information about making a Will please click here.
What is intestacy?
Intestacy rules set out a strict order of people who will be entitled to the Estate should someone die without making a Will (known as an “intestate person”). This means that sadly, sometimes, the loved ones or charity who the intestate person would have liked to have left his or her Estate to, do not inherit it. This is why it is so important for you to make a Will if you haven’t already.
For more information about intestacy or to discuss the order of entitlement for a friendly initial telephone discussion or to make an appointment, please contact our team on 01785 252377 for Stafford, 01782 987551 for Newcastle-under-Lyme, or 01270 446260 for Alsager.
What is the procedure?
Not all Estates have to go to Probate. For example, if there is only a small current account the person legally entitled to deal with the Estate (known as an Executor if appointed under a Will, or an Administrator if no Will exists), may be able to deal with the account using a small estates declaration form.
Where there are various accounts or money over a bank threshold for probate (the threshold varies with different banks and there is no set limit) or there is a property which is owned solely by the deceased then Probate will be required. Probate is also sometimes required for property which is not owned as joint tenants but owned as tenants in common.
For more information about this, please do not hesitate to contact a member of our team to discuss the different ways in which a property can be owned.
Probate is the legal document which is issued by the Probate Court that will give the Executor or Administrator the legal authority to administer the Estate once approved by the Court. Our specialist Stafford, Newcastle-under-Lyme and Alsager teams, will help answer any questions you may have about applying for Probate.
What about Inheritance Tax?
When applying for Probate an inheritance tax booklet will need to be completed to confirm whether Inheritance Tax (referred to as IHT) is payable or not. The procedure and forms do vary a lot dependant on whether IHT is an issue. There are strict timeframes for inheritance tax to be paid so if inheritance tax is applicable, the sooner you are able to start to gather information about the value of the Estate, the better. However, if you feel it is too soon or you are finding it difficult, we can do this for you.
You can find more useful information about IHT on the Government website. If you do require advice or guidance about Inheritance Tax then please contact our specialist Probate teams on 01785 252377 for Stafford, 01782 987551 for Newcastle-under-Lyme, or 01270 446260 for Alsager.
How long does it take to deal with an Estate?
The whole procedure for Probate depends on the complexity of the Estate and the amount of assets involved. The timescale can vary between 2 months up to 18 months dependant on each situation. You can be rest assured that our Stafford Probate team and our Stoke on Trent Probate team, work closely with Executors and Administrators to deal with an Estate as quickly as possible.
What are the legal costs involved for dealing with Probate and Administration?
Our Probate and Wills teams are always upfront about the costs involved and different options available for clients. For example, we can deal with the Probate application only on a fixed basis. Alternatively, we can act in dealing with the Probate application and the administration of the Estate and we will provide a detailed quotation once we have full details of what is involved because every Estate is different.
For a quotation and to discuss the likely costs involved, for a friendly initial telephone discussion or to make an appointment, please contact our team on 01785 252377 for Stafford, 01782 987551 for Newcastle-under-Lyme, or 01270 446260 for Alsager.