When a loved one dies with a valid will, they are said to be testate. This means that their estate will be distributed in accordance with their own wishes as set out in their will.
If you have been appointed as an executor, the first step is always to locate the will. This may be straight forward where you have been left very specific instructions but, in some cases, you will need to make contact with a solicitor who holds the will for safe keeping. Once you have the will you can review the contents and establish whether you will require a Grant of Probate. If the estate contains no assets, jointly held assets only or is of very minimal value, you may be able to avoid applying for a grant altogether.
If a Grant of Probate is required, you will need to consider whether or not you require the services of a solicitor to assist you in the process of applying to the probate office for the grant. This is essentially the legal document that is granted by the courts which allows you to administer the estate.
Responsibilities of Executor
Where the estate in question is of any significant value, acting as an executor can be a time-consuming task and the probate application involves a range of steps such as;
- Establishing the value of the estate.
- Corresponding with various financial and other institutions.
- Liaising with beneficiaries.
- Preparing and submitting various documents to the Probate Office.
- Once the Grant of Probate issues, distributing the estate.
- Preparing accounts.
In the case of certain estates, it may be appropriate for the executor to make a personal application to the probate office. This is perfectly valid but it is important that any executor wishing to make a personal application understands the level of responsibility they are taking on in doing so. Unless the estate is very straightforward, it is generally advisable to at least consult a solicitor first to ensure that no legal issues arise.
How Can We Help?
At Hoban Boino, we understand that this can seem like a daunting task for anyone who has recently suffered a bereavement and we are here to help you at every step of this process. As your appointed probate solicitors, we will work with you to ensure your application to the probate office is completed efficiently and will assist you in all matters in order to ensure the timely administration of your loved one’s estate.
In relation to the cost of probate, it is important for executors to note that it is their responsibility to deal with the estate and as such their duty to agree the costs with the solicitor. If there are multiple beneficiaries under the will it is good practice to advise each of them when a solicitor is appointed. The extent of the costs will vary depending on the level of work required but same will be discussed and agreed prior to any work being carried on your behalf.