Probate can be a complex process but in very simple terms the probate process can be divided into two stages.
These are the legal documents that grant the legal right to distribute the estate. A Grant of Probate is required when there is a valid Will in place and is issued to the Executors. Letters of Administration are granted to the Administrator of the estate (normally next of kin) and are applicable when there is no valid will and the rules of intestacy apply.
The process to obtain these documents is broadly the same.
- Officially register the death
- Value the estate
- Calculate and Pay Inheritance Tax
- Make the Probate Application
- Pay the Probate Fees.
Please note, many fixed fee probate quotes only cover this stage of the process.
Stage 2: Administration of the Estate
The administration of the estate can be administration heavy, time consuming and complex. There are a limited amount of probate solicitors who offer fixed fee probate for full estate administration (but there are some). This is because it’s difficult to predict exactly what’s involved, how long it will take and what complexities may arise. Examples of common estate administration tasks are finalising pensions and tax affairs, selling property, house clearance, cancelling all accounts including bank accounts and utility accounts, selling or transferring shares, selling or distributing other belongings such as cars and jewellery, identifying and sometimes finding beneficiaries and the list goes on…..
What is excluded?
Fixed Fee probate will not cover any contentious probate issues or executor or beneficiary disputes. If you find yourself dealing with contentious probate and need help with funding, take a look at funding for probate litigation.
The cost of probate for large estates can run into thousands of pounds but of course, not every estate has a high value. Fix fee probate is a service that can be tailored to the needs of the client but is more affordable and will only cover what the client requires.
Increased Certainty, less personal risk
With probate administration being handled professionally, you will have more certainty that it’s been completed correctly. There are numerous risks to being an executor or administrator and if mistakes are made, executor or administrators can be held personally liable. Delegating the task to a probate solicitor reduces that risk.
If you instruct a solicitor, you can benefit from their experience. A professional knows the system and will complete the probate process more efficiently than someone doing it for the first time.
Handling probate while grieving for the loss of a loved one can be hard. By using fixed fee solicitors, you can leave them to handle the probate process. This gives you the freedom to grieve without the stress of having to administer an estate correctly and in accordance with the law.
The aim of fixed fee probate is to keep things simple and efficient. As a result, it will only cover certain services based on a simple, small estate. If you have a complex estate or probate that has an international element, then fixed fee probate will not be the right fit.
When you receive your quote, check it carefully to ensure you know what it covers. Most probate solicitors will provide a clear and itemised list to provide a clear overview of the service to be provided. They will also specify whether additional disbursements e.g. the probate application fee are included in the quote.
How to Choose a Probate Solicitor
Choosing a probate solicitor is like choosing any other service. Do your research! Ask to speak with them before instruction and don’t be afraid to ask questions. Do what you need to do to ensure they have the relevant experience and that you feel a professional rapport.
Book to Discuss
If you don’t want the stress of handling probate, then a fixed fee probate service could be the right option. It is ideal for small estates and ensures that the cost is transparent, giving you the freedom to grieve without the worry of managing probate. To start the process, book to discuss a quote with a solicitor from The Probate Network.