The loss of a family member can be a difficult time for everyone. Nothing can prepare you to handle the overwhelming emotions that come with a death in the family, and even outside the emotional toll it takes there’s a lot that needs to be handled from a legal standpoint. From dealing with the deceased’s outstanding tax bill to property questions and more, handling a loved one’s estate is a job that can be complex and confusing.
To help you we’ve prepared a guide to all the questions you might have when looking for an estate administration solicitor, to help make sure you’re prepared should the worst happen to a family member.
What is Estate Administration?
Estate administration is the term given to the process of handling a person’s affairs after they have died. When a person dies there will be all sorts of legal and tax affairs which will require attention, from personal property and assets to Inheritance Tax and any unpaid Income Tax.
The process of dealing with estate administration can be a complex matter to deal with, especially as these matters need attention during a complicated time for many individuals. This is why, when a person passes, an estate administration solicitor can be hired to take care of these issues, leaving the family to grieve without having to worry about legal matters.
How is Estate Administration Different from Probate?
When looking into estate administration you will see the term probate quite often. Sometimes you may even see them conflated, but there is quite a large difference between probate and estate administration.
Simply put, probate is part of the estate administration process. Probate is what allows you, or your representative, to carry out the administration of the deceased’s estate. The Grant of Probate, also known as Confirmation in Scotland and the Grant of Representation in England and Wales, is required to handle a deceased’s estate if that estate is worth over £5000.
Probate is not always required, however, such as if the estate is worth less than £5000 or if the estate in question is owned jointly with someone else, as in that latter case the estate will pass to the surviving partner.
It’s important to note the difference as often probate is assumed to be the whole requirement after a passing. Rather, it is the means by which estate administration takes place.
What Does an Estate Administration Solicitor Do?
Estate administration solicitors can make sure that your loved one’s estate is handled sensitively and professionally, leaving you to deal with the other, more personal aspects of a family member’s passing.
An estate administration solicitor can handle the following areas, amongst others depending on the situation:
Every situation is different, an estate administration solicitor will gather required information and let affected parties know that they are acting on your behalf.
Applying for Confirmation
The Confirmation or Grant of Probate is required for further action to be taken, your solicitor will apply for this and take on any required liability in your name.
Readying Tax Forms
Relevant tax forms will be prepared in order to make the matter of finalising outstanding tax easy and simple.
The Confirmation will be sent anywhere the deceased family member held an account, such as banks and mortgage companies. This allows you to collect funds from the closed accounts.
Completing Legal Work
Any outstanding legal work will be resolved such as contacting trustees, properties transfers, and any other legal tasks that may be required.
Outstanding debts can be settled by your estate administration solicitor, making sure that affected parties receive funds that are due to them.
Transferring and Selling Assets
Shares and assets in the UK and overseas can be sold or transferred to beneficiaries as per the Will of the deceased.
A family home may need to be sold, an estate administration solicitor will work with property partners in order to resolve the sale quickly and for the best possible price.
Finalising Outstanding Tax
Income Tax return will be submitted to HMRC and Inheritance Tax will be finalised, along with a reclamation of any overpaid Inheritance Tax. Any debts in regard to tax will also be settled at this point.
Producing Estate Accounts
Finally, full final estate accounts will be produced and sent to relevant parties.
What to Check When Looking for Estate Administration Solicitors
When seeking estate administration solicitors after a loved one’s passing then there are several things to bear in mind that can make sure you find the right solicitor for you.
Listen to Friends and Family
If your friends or family members have used a solicitor in the past to help them with probate or estate administration, check with them to learn how it went. Get names and details, if you can, and see if you can follow up with the solicitors in question. However, it is important to remember that friends and family may not have qualified information about the details of a solicitor, so always take recommendations with a pinch of salt.
Check Online Reviews
Almost everything is reviewed online and solicitors are no different. Many websites and search engines are filled with reviews you can investigate before deciding which solicitor to contact. Similar to the previous step, however, we would recommend caution as online reviews can often only tell one side of a story. That said, if reviews are pouring in in a positive manner, it’s indicative of a company you can at least speak to.
Trust Your Instincts
Often when checking a website or reviews you’ll get an innate feeling about a business. It can’t be summed up in words, but you’ll simply know whether you should trust a business. We recommend trusting that feeling, as usually, it’ll be something your subconscious has picked up on. If you fight that feeling, especially during a difficult time such as the death of a loved one, then the whole estate administration process can be much more stressful for you.
Do Your Research
In addition to checking reviews or word-of-mouth feedback, do your research of the solicitors in question. How large is the company? Where are they located? How often do they respond to clients? You might not be able to answer all these questions, but finding the answers to many will be possible and it will help you narrow your search for your estate administration solicitors.
Finally, check the pricing options. Some solicitors may simply be out of your price bracket, which will only add to stress and worry during the estate administration process if you choose an option you may struggle with, financially. Make sure you find a solicitor that works to a budget you can afford to ensure this process occurs as easily and smoothly as possible.
Are you Searching for Estate Administration Solicitors in Glasgow?
Now you should have more information about how to find the right solicitor for you when looking for assistance with estate administration. If you need assistance in this regard, do not hesitate to get in touch with our expert solicitors who will be happy to help you through this difficult time with absolute confidence.