Probate is the official process for settling someone's estate after they've passed away. At Switalskis, we have a specialised team who are experts in dealing with probate matters.
We understand that sorting out an estate isn’t just dealing with paperwork - it's much more than that and it comes at an emotional time. What we do is make legal matters as straightforward as possible. That means speaking in plain English, keeping you in the loop, and making sure the process is smooth from start to finish.
Sorting out probate can feel like you're trying to solve a complex puzzle, especially when you're dealing with the emotional impact of losing someone. That's where Switalskis steps in.
Our experts will guide you through the probate process, step by step, making sure you know your rights and responsibilities as an executor or administrator. Because every estate is different, we tailor our advice and plan to your specific situation, answering all your questions along the way.
Probate is the official process that begins when someone passes away, leaving behind a will and some assets like property, money or belongings. If you're named as the executor in the will, your job is to make sure everything is distributed according to the deceased person's wishes. Before you can start, the will has to be verified by a court as legitimate. Once that's done, you're given a ‘grant of probate’, which is permission to carry out the instructions in the will. Our team can help guide you through all the steps to get that grant.
Dealing with probate can feel like a massive juggling act. You have to contact banks, financial companies and pension providers, work out the value of the estate, calculate whether any Inheritance Tax is due, speak to HMRC and claim any tax exemptions, and coordinate with the court to make the will official. And that's just scratching the surface. It can be a lot to handle, especially when you're also coping with the emotional side of losing someone close to you.
Many people feel daunted at the thought of navigating this process alone. If you're the executor, it’s your responsibility to make sure the instructions of the will are followed. If something goes awry, or if you don't follow the proper procedures, you're the one who could end up facing some legal trouble. You're not just handling paperwork - you're shouldering a big responsibility.
That's why getting professional advice isn't just a good idea - it's essential. Our probate team can break down the probate process for you, step by step, so you know exactly what needs doing, when and how. We're not just about making things clear - our focus is on giving you the confidence to carry out your duties as an executor without second-guessing every move.
We're in your corner, offering expert advice so you can fulfil your role effectively and without stress.
If you're named as the person responsible for sorting out someone's belongings and affairs after they've passed away, you're called an executor if it's mentioned in their will, or an administrator if there's no will. Your job involves gathering details about all the money, property and debts the person had. You might also need to get official valuations for things like houses or valuable possessions.
After you've got all this information together, we can help you create the necessary legal paperwork for probate. Then, you'll need to apply for official permission to deal with the estate. This permission comes in the form of a grant of probate if you're an executor, or a grant of representation if you're an administrator. Our team of solicitors can guide you through the process, including helping you with getting the estate valued, selling any property or land, filling out tax forms, and even advising you on how to change a will after someone has died, if that's needed.
We can also advise you on what to do if the person didn't leave a will, which is known as dying intestate. Our service is flexible, tailored to what you need. Whether you want some basic guidance or need us to handle the complicated stuff so you can focus on being with your family and friends, we're here for you.
In case you're feeling overwhelmed, you also have the option to hire a professional to deal with the estate on your behalf. We can take care of everything for you, usually for a fee taken from the estate's value.
So, whether you want to do most of the work yourself but need a bit of expert advice, or you want someone to take the burden off your shoulders entirely, we've got options that can suit your situation.
A grant of probate is an official document that says you're the person who's allowed to sort out someone's affairs after they've passed away. If you've been named as the executor in the will, this document gives you the legal power to deal with the person's money, property and belongings, which together make up their estate.
Whether you need this grant or not depends on what's in the estate. If we're talking about a small amount of money and personal belongings, then you might not need one. But if there's property, like a house, or a large sum of money in bank accounts, then you're probably going to need a grant of probate to show you've got the right to access these things.
Getting a grant of probate also keeps things above board. It means you're officially allowed to collect the estate's assets, pay off any debts, and then distribute what's left to the people named in the will. Without it, you could run into problems down the line, like not being able to sell a property or release funds from a bank. So it's better to know upfront if you'll need one to avoid any problems later on.
There's no one-size-fits-all answer. The length of time it takes to wrap up probate can vary a lot depending on what's involved. If it's a straightforward case with no property to sell and a simple will, it could take a few months. But if the estate is more complicated with multiple properties or investments, or there are disagreements between family members, it could take a year or even longer.
Getting the grant of probate is usually the first step, and that alone can take a few weeks to a couple of months. After that, you'll need to gather assets, pay off any debts, and handle taxes, which can add more time. If you're selling property as part of the estate, the timing will also depend on how quickly the sale goes through. So there's quite a bit to juggle, and it can take time to get everything sorted.
But remember, you don't have to figure it all out on your own. Professional advice can help you understand what needs to be done and give you a better idea of how long it'll take. And if you're worried about getting it wrong, getting expert help can also make the process smoother and faster.
Yes, probate can be contested, but it's not a simple process. Generally, someone might contest probate if they believe the will is invalid, if they think the executor is not doing their job properly, or if they feel they've been unfairly left out of the will. You can't just contest probate because you're unhappy with what you've inherited; there must be legal grounds for your challenge.
To contest probate, you'll typically need to get a solicitor involved and potentially go to court. Legal action can be time-consuming and expensive, so it's usually considered a last resort. If you're considering this step, you should be fairly certain you have a strong case. Speaking with a legal expert can give you a clearer picture of whether you've got a fighting chance.
Also, keep in mind that contesting probate can stir up family tensions and potentially prolong the process for everyone involved. If you're considering contesting, it's essential to weigh up not just the legal aspects but also emotional and personal costs. Sometimes, trying to resolve issues outside of the courtroom through mediation can be a less stressful and more effective solution.
If you're facing the probate process and need advice that's tailored to your needs, get in touch with our team today.
Call us on 0800 1380 458 or get in touch through our website.