When a loved-one passes, legal matters are an unwelcome distraction for those left behind to grieve. Despite the stress such matters can bestow upon the bereaved, the proper discharge of the deceased’s estate remains an important element of English law.
The valuation of the deceased’s estate is the first step in the probate process. The numerous assets and liabilities one inevitably acquires throughout one’s life must be carefully analysed to determine their value, a process that requires a skilled and tenacious lawyer. For the grieving relative, the hassle of calling and writing to various institutions only to be presented with a seemingly incalculable set of figures presents a daunting prospect. At Hunter Lawyers, our team of probate lawyers are on hand to undertake this process on your behalf.
Having valued the deceased’s estate, a Grant of Probate is required before the assets can be distributed among the beneficiaries. For estates with a net value above £325,000, inheritance tax will be due and the declaration and payment of the tax due once again presents a myriad of bureaucracy to be navigated. Typically, an inheritance tax declaration is made at the same time as the application for probate.
Once probate is granted accounts are drawn up, approved and the net estate can finally be distributed among the beneficiaries. Our team of probate lawyers are experienced in these matters and understand the stress such a process can bring to bear on grieving families.
Of course, the above assumes that the deceased left a valid will. However, there are instances where no such will has been left behind. For those seeking to deal with such an estate, absence of a will creates an uncertain, and potentially stressful, situation. The Hunter Lawyers team are ready to provide support and advice. In these instances, instead of a Grant of Probate, Letters of Administration are required before an estate can be lawfully distributed.
The above represents a simplified view of the legal issues that arise when someone dies. In reality, the process of valuing and distributing an estate can be wrought with pitfalls. Perhaps the deceased held shares in an offshore fund nobody knew about, maybe the deceased has liabilities that have been kept secret from the family. Or maybe the bereaved family is simply struggling to cope with the grief experienced when a loved-one passes as well as the practicalities of dealing with an estate. It’s times like these where compassionate and reliable legal representation becomes indispensable and the team at Hunter Lawyers comes into it’s own.
By Nick Shaw