Our Guides & FAQs

Our guides and FAQs cut through the jargon and provide simple answers to complex legal questions. If you need to talk to someone, our team are always on hand to offer advice and support.

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Helpful Probate Guides


Creditors And Trustee Act Notices

As a personal representative (Executor or Administrator), you have many responsibilities, one such being handling any claims that are made against the deceased’s estate. .


What Is Business Property Relief And How Can I Claim This?

Business Property Relief (BPR) is a relief which can be claimed in respect of inheritance tax and reduces the value of the deceased’s taxable estate by the amount attached to the relevant business property. .

Probate, Wills

The Residence Nil Rate Band And How This Is Applied

This relief, called the Residence Nil Rate Band (RNRB), is an extra amount that can pass on death without any Inheritance Tax (IHT) being payable. .


What Happens If An Estate Is ‘Insolvent’?

When administering an estate, a personal representative is responsible for collecting all assets in, paying all debts / liabilities and then distributing the estate, either in accordance with a will, or the rules of intestacy. .

Disputes & Litigation, Probate, Wills

Mistakes In Wills | Kew Law

Creating and keeping a will up-to-date may not be on the top of people’s priorities but having an effective will in place is a crucial step towards securing the future for your loved ones. .


Insolvency Of Beneficiaries

An executor has a legal duty to ensure that an individual’s inheritance is paid to the right person.

Frequently Asked Questions

The death should be registered with the Registrar, and once the Death Certificate has been issued you can then commence dealing with the estate of the deceased, for example notifying banks and building societies.  We would recommend that you obtain several copies of the death certificate as you will need to send these to various institutions.

The Registrar should offer what is called the ‘Tell Us Once’ service, which notifies all government departments of the deceased’s passing.

The death certificate will be required in order for the original will to be released to the Executors if, for example, the will is held by a firm of solicitors.  The Executors will also be required to present their identity documentation.

If someone dies without a will, their estate will pass in accordance with what is known as the rules of intestacy.  This is set out in statute and defines the order in which the next of kin of the deceased will inherit and also who is entitled to act in the administration of the estate.

Probate is the document which evidences the authority of the Executors to act in the administration of the estate, for example in the sale of a property or the closure of an account.  It is ‘granted’ by the Probate Registry following submission of the appropriate inheritance tax return and the original will of the person who has passed away.

Letters of Administration are granted where there is no will, or where the Executors named in the will are unable or unwilling to act.  Letters of Administration have much the same effect as a Grant of Probate, as they are used by the Administrators to evidence their authority to act in the administration of the Estate.  Again, an appropriate inheritance tax return will need to be filed, in order for Letters of Administration to be granted.

Whether probate is required will depend on the assets that form part of the estate of the person who has passed away.

Generally, if the estate is high value, or includes shares or property, a Grant of Probate / Letters of Administration will be required.

Different institutions have different thresholds that they apply to determine whether a Grant of Representation is required, and if the value of the asset held falls below that threshold, they may be happy to release the asset to the Personal Representative of the person who has passed away, on receipt of an indemnity instead.

It is possible to apply for a Grant of Representation without engaging a solicitor or legal representative.

Engaging a solicitor to assist in obtaining the Grant of Probate is beneficial for a number of reasons.

A solicitor will be familiar with the procedure and the information required and this can speed up the process.  A solicitor can help to make the administration of the estate easier and take the burden of dealing with often complex requirements.

You will also have the peace of mind of knowing that full and accurate information has been submitted to the Probate Registry.

Solicitors will also be familiar with, for example, any exemptions or reliefs which can be claimed, which can assist in mitigating any inheritance tax liability of the estate.

Broadly, inheritance tax falls due at the end of the expiry of the period of 6 months after the end of the month in which the deceased passed away i.e. if the deceased passed away in January, then the tax due should be paid by 31 July.  If inheritance tax is paid after this date, interest may be payable on the tax which is due.  For certain assets i.e. properties, it is, however, possible to take advantage of the option to pay tax in instalments, over a period of ten years, but interest will be payable on any such deferred payments.  Inheritance tax is generally payable by the estate, and is one of the few liabilities which will be paid by banks before the letters or representation are granted.

There are, however, some exceptions to this, for example in relation to gifts made in the deceased’s lifetime.

In general, this will be the Executor / Administrator of the estate.

It is important to note that the authority of the Executor to act derives from the will, and the authority of an Administrator derives from the Grant of Letters of Administration, and that the Grant of Representation will normally be required in order for the property to be sold / transferred.

The Executor named in the will is responsible for applying for the Grant of Probate.   If, however, the Executor is unable or unwilling to act, it is possible for the beneficiaries named in the will to step in and apply instead.

See our Pricing page for a summary of our fees and court costs.

Typically, obtaining the grant of probate takes 2-3 weeks from submission of the application to the Probate Registry, though this lengthens during busy/pandemic times.

Collecting assets then follows, which can take between 2-8 weeks depending on the speed of response of the asset holders. Once this has been done, we can distribute the assets, which normally takes 1-2 weeks.

Executors have a period known as the ‘Executors’ Year’ in which it is expected routine estates should be administered though most estates can be wound up in less time than this. On average, routine estates are dealt with within 6-9 months.

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