How Does Probate Work?
When a loved one passes away, it can be a challenging and emotional time. As well as the need to deal with personal and family feelings, there are many practical arrangements to attend to. The death certificate, the funeral, the wake: and that’s all before sorting out belongings and assets and executing the Will.
As with many tasks in life, it is possible to go through probate (the legal process of proving a Will is true and accurate) without the help of a professional. But, at such a difficult time, expert help is going to make the process much easier. In Portsmouth, probate solicitors such as Andrew & Andrew help to guide clients through probate as quickly and smoothly as possible.
If the deceased didn’t leave a Will, it is still necessary to go through probate and settle their estate in accordance with the laws of intestacy. This law determines who the beneficiary of the estate is, following the inheritance rules, i.e. who is their closest living relative. In this case, the legal representative of the estate is known as the administrator.
If there is a Will, the probate court has to legally approve it and also appoint an executor to carry out its instructions. Often the deceased will have named a close friend or relative to be their executor. A probate solicitor in Portsmouthcan represent the executor or administrator in probate court.
Once the Will is approved as legal, the executor can use it to carry out the deceased’s wishes and if necessary, go to court to do this. Sometimes the Will may be contested, if, for example, a family member who was expecting to be named in the Will is left out. Or, if the family believe the deceased was unfairly influenced to change their Will.
Creditors also need to be informed, and part of the executor or administrator duties is to settle debts and pay inheritance tax, if required. A probate solicitor in Portsmouthcan advise on how to apply for the necessary permissions to act on behalf of the deceased in their financial dealings and work out if it’s necessary for the estate to pay tax.