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What to do when someone dies

View profile for Hayley Meskimmon
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Managing someone’s affairs when they die is something many of us face at some point in our lives.

The process of administering a deceased person’s estate involves organising their money, possessions and other assets and distributing them as inheritance (after paying any taxes and/or debts). If a loved one has died without a will or if you have been appointed an executor in someone’s will, you’ll need to apply for a Grant of Probate or a Grant of Administration to settle their affairs.

If there is a Will

If the deceased made a Will, it will name at least one executor - someone they had chosen to administer their estate. If you have been named executor but don’t want to administer the estate yourself, Wilkinson Woodward’s Probate team can apply for probate on your behalf.

If there is no Will

If someone dies without a Will, they are said to be intestate. Although you cannot get a Grant of Probate without a Will, you can still administer the estate through a different process.

The rules of intestacy specify who can apply to administer an estate with a Grant of Administration. Without a Will to specify how to pass on assets, the administrator must distribute inheritance according to the rules of intestacy; only spouses, civil partners, children and other close relatives can inherit under rules of intestacy.

What Is A Grant of Probate?

Before anything else, the executor must apply for a Grant of Probate. This is a legal document which gives them authority to deal with the deceased’s estate.

Can probate be handled on a fixed fee basis?

The work required to administer an estate can vary enormously and we therefore will look at each case on an individual basis and provide a quotation based on the amount of work required.

Unlike many solicitors, we are happy to handle certain cases on fixed fee basis. We handle grant-only matters from £500 + VAT.

Do I have to instruct the solicitor where the Will is stored?

Not necessarily. Even if the Will appoints a specific firm or a representative of that firm as executors, in most cases you are free to choose who you want to handle the probate process for you.

It is therefore important that before instructing solicitors - or accepting nominated solicitors as executors - that you check how much you will be charged.

How much do solicitors charge for probate?

Some solicitors charge both an hourly rate plus a percentage, others just an hourly rate or a percentage, and some offer a fixed fee.

How much do Wilkinson Woodward Solicitors charge for probate?

We pride ourselves on pricing matters in a transparent and fair way. We charge only for the work carried out, often on a fixed fee basis. We do not add a percentage (which can unnecessarily increase the costs, especially where the estate is substantial).

For more information, please contact our wills and probate specialists in Halifax, Huddersfield or Brighouse.

Contact our experts for further advice