When a person passes away, as well as dealing with their grief, a friend or relative has to deal with the affairs of their loved one.
This can be a very involved process, which can be confusing and time consuming.
- Will Probate be needed?
- How can the house be transferred?
- How do I access any money?
- What do I do about their Pensions and Benefits?
- What will it all cost?
These are just a few of the questions that families are faced with as soon as a loved one passes away.
Wolferstans has one of the largest private client teams in the region and an outstanding reputation for providing a quality service to our clients.
Our team is highly experienced and successful in delivering results to clients. We are proud to have members of the Society for Trust and Estate Practitioners (STEP), the Law Society Private Client Section, and Solicitors for the Elderly.
We have the experience and strength in depth to provide clear and pragmatic advice on a range of issues faced by individuals, families, trustees and charities.
The work that we undertake includes:-
- Estate planning and administration
- Powers of Attorney, including revocation and registration of Enduring Powers of Attorney, Lasting Powers of Attorney for Property and Financial Affairs and Health and Welfare
- Appointment of Deputies and advice upon the Court of Protection
- Advising upon Care Home fees and Care Home choices
- Trust arrangements, including Lifetime Trusts and Will Trusts
- Protection of property and other assets
- Preparation of Deeds of Variation
- All forms of Tax planning
- Free quotation
- Fixed fees
- A “Grant only” service
- A practical, problem free probate service
- Specialist advice from members of Solicitors for the Elderly, STEP and the Law Society Private Client
- Sensitivity and compassion
- Plymouth Probate Solicitors Pledge
To read some of the success stories and testimonials from our clients, please click here.
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When a person dies, a friend or relative has to deal with their affairs. Where do you start?
There are hundreds of questions that run through your mind.
- Where is the Will?
- Do I need probate?
- What do I do about tax?
- Who do I notify – and when?
- Is the house secure?
- What is this form that I have been sent?
Dealing with a deceased person’s estate and assets can be a very time consuming and confusing process, at a time that is difficult and emotional. It often involves numerous different organisations such as banks, building societies, share providers and the Revenue.
We have a skilled specialist team that can take you through the steps you need to take one by one, in a way and at a timescale that suits you. Within the team we have members of Solicitors for the Elderly, STEP, and the Law Society Private Client Section.
We pride ourselves on sensitivity and compassion at what is a difficult time for all concerned. We can assist you with the most straightforward and practical of tasks, up to the most legal and complex.
When someone dies it is necessary to appoint someone to deal with the assets they leave behind including money property and personal possessions by collecting them in, paying any debts and distributing what is left to those entitled to it.
A Grant of Representation is the Court’s authority to a person or persons to administer a deceased person’s estate. This shows the institutions holding the assets such as banks that you have the authority to deal with the deceased’s affairs.
It is not always necessary to obtain a Grant of Representation in small estates where there is no property, land or shares or where the assets are all jointly held but we can give guidance as to whether one is required in the particular circumstances of each case.
A Grant of Probate is the document often required in order to administer a deceased person’s estate, when they have left a Will. It is not always required.
If a person has not left a Will, a different Grant would have to be obtained called a Grant of Letters of Administration.
There are many different types of Grant available. Often, for estates of any significant value, a Grant will be needed before the person dealing with the Estate can access funds or carry out the deceased person’s wishes.
We recognise that in many cases, it is possible to administer an estate yourself but a Grant of Probate or Letters of Administration may still be required before you can do so.
The forms to obtain Probate can be quite complicated and the job of administering a deceased person’s affairs is quite onerous.
We therefore offer a Fixed Fee Grant Only Service to assist you, advising you on all of the potential time limits, difficulties and penalties that may arise, so that you can rest assured that you are carrying out your responsibilities appropriately.
Our fixed fee service includes preparation of all of the tax forms and preparation of the papers required for Probate. We will then assist you in swearing the documents and submit all of the papers to the Probate Registry.
We can then pass on to you the reduced Probate fees that are charged to solicitors.
If tax is required to be paid we will assist you in relation to completing the tax forms, raising and paying and all other issues arising.
We are able to advise you upon whether a Deed of Variation, which is a document that varies someone’s Will, may be of benefit to you.
This may be for tax saving or other reason. It may enable you to pass an inheritance on to someone else who requires it more than you.
The rules in relation to this are complex and there is a strict time limit of two years from the date of death.
As such it is wise to contact us to talk through the options in more detail before proceeding.
There have never been as many different ways to administer the estate of a deceased person, as there are currently.
There are internet companies, organisations such as the Co-op, Banks and Building Societies, as well as traditional Solicitors’ firms who offer advice and services on what to do when a loved one passes away and how best to administer the estate.
We advise bereaved families to take their time and look into the various options available before rushing into anything.
The problem is knowing where to start when you are grieving and faced with tax documentation, paperwork, bills arriving and various different copies of Wills. It is a difficult time, and there is an awful lot to cope with.
Families can be confused by the vast range of options available, but often the service that they are being offered is not a quality service, or is very costly.
There is no obligation on any family to use a Solicitor to administer a deceased person’s estate. However, we recommend that families look closely at what they are being offered by any provider before they proceed. Often, probate services that are offered are dealt with at a distance, without you ever meeting face to face the person dealing with your case. Sometimes the provider is not able to offer all of the services that you need – for example, they may be able to collect in assets and pay the bills, but they may not be able to see the bigger picture and offer the more detailed tax advice or look at your family as a whole to help you plan for the future.
It is understandable that families will think of the costs of administering an estate as one of the first hurdles. Whilst that is entirely appropriate for the right case, there is no substitute for obtaining informed, no obligation legal advice first to ensure that everything is looked at in detail. After all, it is not necessarily what you know you need to do, it is what you don’t know that you don’t know.
We would recommend families to read the small print of documentation before they sign up with anyone offering a probate service. Traditionally Solicitors’ firms are seen as expensive for the administration of estates, but other organisations such as Banks and Building Societies usually charge a percentage of the value of the estate, which is often considerably higher than solicitor charges for an estate administration. Often they are also not carrying out exactly what you want to happen.
However, we would also caution against simply approaching any legal firm as it is important to choose a specialist. Families should look for firms and members of STEP (The Society for Trusts and Estates Practitioners), Solicitors for the Elderly, or the Law Society Private Client Section. You should also look for firms who have a specialist department carrying out this work and a history of administering estates.
Wolferstans are launching their ‘Probate Pledge’ which is where we ensure that the work that we do is based on four main principles:
- You will always see a qualified lawyer face to face who will manage your case;
- The lawyer will always be at least a member of STEP, Solicitors for the Elderly or the Law Society Private Client Section;
- You will be offered a range of services to suit you – from simply obtaining the Grant of Probate to a full administration of the estate; and
- You will be offered a range of flexible funding options including fixed fees.
No two families are the same, so it is not a question of “one size fits all. We can ensure that what a family is being offered suits them.
In many cases, the family wish to deal with a lot of administration themselves, but we can still assist in relation to the tax paperwork and obtaining the Grant of Probate, where needed, for a fixed fee.
Our pledge to the families of Plymouth is that Wolferstans will always provide them with a level of service that is right for them in administering a deceased person’s estate, and we urge them to take the time to have an initial no obligation discussion with a lawyer to consider all of their options before acting too quickly.