Solicitors Probate Bournemouth and Westbourne

  1. How long does it take for probate to be granted in the UK?

The shortest time for probate to be granted is usually just under three months for estates in England and Wales. Usually, it will take around 6 to 9 months for beneficiaries to receive their inheritance and for the estate to be distributed. 

  1. How much does it cost for a grant of probate?

When an individual decides to complete Probate there is a fee of £215, which is the application fee for the Grant of Representation. This fee doesn't have to be paid if the estate that you are intending to administer is less than £5.000. Of course, this is the official fee if you do all the work yourself and not the solicitor fee.

  1. Do you have to go through probate if you have a will?

Whether someone leaves a will or not doesn't affect whether estates need to go through probate. It's whether the assets such as property and money need a Grant of Probate before they can be distributed to their heirs, according to the terms of the will. Most estates over £10,000 will require Probate.

  1. What will a solicitor charge for probate?

Specialist probate solicitors will usually charge an hourly rate or a fee that is a percentage of the value of the estate. This fee is usually between 1% and 5%. There are also solicitors who will charge a fixed fee for probate – it is worth asking for a quote from Solicitors In Bournemouth as we will give you a fixed fee if the situation is straightforward.

  1. What type of assets are subject to probate?

The type of assets that are subject to probate usually include assets held in the deceased's sole name, for example property. Other assets include bank accounts, building society accounts, shares, bonds, investment portfolios. Some life insurance companies and pension companies will also ask for evidence of Grant of Probate. Foreign assets and business assets are also likely to require a Grant of probate.

  1. Can I avoid probate by having a will?

One way of avoiding probate is to use a solicitor to create what's known as a living trust. This is an alternative to a will and allows you to avoid probate because the property and assets are already distributed to a trust.

  1. What are the solicitors fees for administering a will?

Solicitors charge varying amounts for administering a will or estate, anything from £15,000 to £5,000 for a £500,000 estate – with statutory fees on top. Some non-complex estates of low value can be administered for around £500 to £1000.

  1. What is contentious or contested probate?

Contentious probate is when there is a dispute about a deceased's estate. This may be a dispute about the validity of the will, how the executors are acting, the value of assets, the implementation of the will and how the assets are to be distributed. Wills can be challenged under the Inheritance Act, so please get in touch as soon as possible as there are time pressures with regards to challenges.

  1. What are the grounds for contesting a will?

There are a number of grounds for contesting a will. The deceased may not have had mental capacity to make the will. The person was not fully aware of didn't understand the content of the will. They were unduly influenced to make a will against his or her wishes. The will is a fraud or forgery. It has not been properly executed. And in addition there is the Inheritance Act 1975 which allows individuals to seek financial provision from the estate of the deceased. It is a complex area of law and needs a specialist contentious probate solicitor.

  1. How long after a will is probated can it be contested?

When you want to challenge a will or are submitting a claim using the Inheritance Act, there is normally a six month time limit from the date of probate being granted. However, if a will is contested because of fraud, there is no time limit. The courts do have discretion to overrule this limit but this is highly exceptional.

  1. Can I contest probate if there wasn’t a will?

It is possible to contest probate if there isn't a will. When someone dies without a will the ancient laws of intestacy apply. These set out who can inherit from the estate. However it may be possible to make a claim under the Inheritance Act.

When there isn't a will engaging a solicitor is a good idea to help with probate and it is not always clear what assets the deceased had or how complex family relationships should be accounted for.

  1. Is it hard to contest a will?

In the majority of cases, contesting the will is usually on the basis that the testator (the person who made the will, wasn't able to make it because they did not have the mental capacity or they were unduly influenced.

The court will generally conclude a witnessed and signed will is valid, therefore it can be difficult to contest a will that is 100% correctly set up. However, if you want to contest a will, a consultation with a specialist contentious probate solicitor can give you a good idea if you have a case.
  1. Contesting a will after the estate has been distributed – can it be done?

It is possible to contest a will after an estate has been distributed but it is much more difficult if the assets have been distributed to the beneficiaries.

If possible, it is better to put the executor on notice of a genuine claim before distribution of assets because then it is possible that a caveat preventing a Grant of Probate whilst there is a dispute. It is very important that you get independent legal advice as soon as possible.

Please contact us here at Solicitors In Bournemouth if you have any need for help with probate. We are specialist probate and contested probate solicitors and can help you sort out all the affairs of the deceased.

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