If you are looking for ‘wills and probate solicitors near me’, it is safe to assume that you either need to make a will or require specialist advice on a probate matter.
Our Norwich based wills and probate solicitors are specialists in the field, having amassed years of experience in helping clients prepare their wills and advising on all aspects of wills and probate procedure.
What Is A Will?
A will is the legal means by which you can ensure that your estate – money, property and possessions – passes to the people and causes dear to you. A will removes any uncertainty for those left behind as to your wishes, providing comfort and reducing stress at a challenging time.
If you ‘die intestate’, (i.e. without leaving a will), the law dictates how your estate will be distributed under the Rules of Intestacy. This may not accord with your wishes and could mean that someone you care about is not provided for. It is, therefore, vital to locate ‘wills and probate solicitors near me’ and obtain expert help to prepare a will.
Examples of instructions you may include in your will are –
- Naming the executor of your estate. This person will be responsible for administering your estate when you die. They will ensure all debts and liabilities, such as tax, are discharged and divide the remaining assets between the beneficiaries according to your wishes. An executor can be a friend or family member, or a professional, such as a solicitor;
- Specifying who should inherit your estate. There is no limit on the number of beneficiaries you can name, and a beneficiary can be anyone you choose, including friends, family members, organisations and charities;
- Your funeral wishes;
- Your wishes regarding guardianship of your children.
There are conditions which need to be met for a will to be valid. These include that it was voluntarily made by a person over the age of 18 and signed in the presence of 2 witnesses. If any of the validity criteria are not met, the will may be invalid, and your estate will be administered under the terms of any earlier will or, in the absence of such, in accordance with the Rules of Intestacy. It is, therefore, crucial to take specialist legal advice when preparing your will.
Our Norwich Wills Solicitors will carefully guide you through the will-making process, ensuring your will is clear and unambiguous, properly reflects your wishes and satisfies the validity criteria.
What Is Probate?
Probate is the legal right to deal with the estate (money and other assets) of a person who has died.
If a will is in place, the person (or people) nominated to act as executor will be responsible for the administration of the estate. Executors often need to obtain a grant of probate before they can commence their duties. A grant of probate is a legal document granting authority to carry out tasks such as accessing bank accounts and life insurance policies, valuing and selling assets and distributing the estate to beneficiaries.
If the deceased died intestate, inheritance laws dictate who can take responsibility for estate administration, referred to as administrators. Administrators also often need legal documentation to fulfil their duties, known as Letters of Administration.
The probate process can be confusing and onerous and often involves complex legal, financial and taxation issues. Those responsible for the administration of the estate – executors and administrators – are legally obliged to carry out their duties with due care and skill. If they fail to do so, they may be personally liable for any losses suffered by beneficiaries or other third parties. Many people involved in the administration of an estate, therefore, seek expert help and guidance from a local specialist probate solicitor.
What Do Specialist Wills And Probate Solicitors Do?
You do not need a wills and probate solicitor to make a will, apply for probate or deal with an estate. However, many people choose to use one to ensure the applicable legal criteria are met and lessen the burden of the probate process.
Examples of when specialist wills and probate solicitors may be used include –
In the context of wills –
- To ensure all legal criteria relating to will validity are met;
- To ensure the will is drafted in a clear, unambiguous manner to minimise the risk of it being challenged;
- To take advantage of tax-saving strategies;
- To establish a Trust;
- To explain why a particular beneficiary has been included or excluded.
In the context of probate –
- When an estate is large or complex;
- When the deceased did not leave a Will, and so the Rules of Intestacy need to be applied;
- When the value of an estate exceeds the threshold for inheritance tax;
- When probate is contested. Contested probate refers to any dispute arising from the administration of an estate. Examples of contested probate matters include disputes surrounding the validity of a will, concerns over the mismanagement of an estate and the deceased failing to honour a promise made during their lifetime in their will.
Are There Any Solicitors Near Me Specialising In Wills And Probate?
If you are based in and around Great Yarmouth, Norfolk, Norwich or even further afield and are searching for ‘wills and probate solicitors near me’, our expert team is on hand to provide cost-effective, sensitive advice in a concise, straightforward manner and ensure your matter is dealt with as swiftly and efficiently as possible.