When someone dies, locating a will is one of the most important steps as it will decide how the deceased’s estate must be administered. At Mooney Everett Solicitors, our expert probate lawyers in Ormskirk, West Lancashire, can guide you through the complex process of estate administration.
No valid will
Where a valid will cannot be found, we can advise you on who inherits the estate and the order of entitlement according to rules of intestacy. You will need to apply for a court order, similar to a grant of probate, called a grant of letters of administration. There is a strict order of priority as to who can apply for this.
Valid will in force
Where there is a valid will, the nominated executors will be responsible for administering the estate and applying for probate. They will need to follow the wishes of the deceased, and distribute the assets according to the terms of the will.
Whether there is a will or not, administering the estate can be a time-consuming and complicated process. It is advisable to seek legal advice from the outset, especially if it is a large estate or if any beneficiaries are likely to dispute the will.
Administration includes collating information on all the assets and liabilities, safeguarding property, obtaining valuations, applying for the grant of probate, submitting an account to HM Revenue & Customs (HMRC), and arranging payment of any inheritance tax, distributing assets according to the will, as well as keeping detailed accounts.
The job can last from a few months to a number of years depending on the complexity of the estate. It is an onerous and unpaid task, but you can delegate all the tasks, including contacting the various financial institutions, preparing the paperwork for HMRC, the Probate Registry and the accounts for the beneficiaries, to Mooney Everett’s specialist probate team. Our legal fees can be claimed as a legitimate expense of the estate.
We can also advise you on:
- wills and inheritance disputes; and
- varying the terms of a will.
At Mooney Everett we explain things in plain English, free of any jargon. We will discuss all the options with you, outlining the costs involved from the outset, and we make sure that you are kept informed regularly.