There are many things to organize after the death of a loved one. You have to break the news to the people who need to know, and of course, plan the funeral to give them the goodbye they deserve. However, arguably the most stressful item on the to-do list is handling your loved one’s financial affairs. That’s where a probate specialist comes in.
While you may be able to handle the probate process yourself if you are the executor of your loved one’s will, it can be a painful, emotionally draining task. Enlisting the help of a probate specialist can ease this burden and allow you more time to grieve and take care of yourself and those close to you.
What is a probate specialist?
A probate specialist is a solicitor or accountant who specializes in handling the process of estate administration following someone’s death. While many people find it easier to use the solicitor who drew up the will of the deceased, there’s no requirement for you to choose that option.
Do I need to use a probate specialist?
If you are the executor of a will, you will need to decide whether you’d like to hire a probate professional to carry out the probate process, or whether you’ll do it yourself. If you’re dealing with a complex estate, it’s highly recommended that you enlist a probate specialist, as there may be complex arrangements that need to be made during the probate process.
A complex estate includes cases where: the will has been disputed; a dependent was deliberately left out of the will but wants to make a claim; there are complex arrangements regarding trusts; the deceased lived overseas or died outside the country; the estate is bankrupt; or there are foreign assets/property.
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Where can I find a probate specialist?
No matter whether you live in England, Wales, Scotland, or Northern Ireland, you’ll have access to a directory of solicitors through each respective Law Society website. It’s worth shopping around for a range of quotes before committing to a probate specialist, to ensure you’re charged a fair price.
However, if the deceased used a bank to draw up their will, rather than a legal expert, the bank may have been appointed co-executor. This would give them the right to carry out probate, if the deceased agreed to that prior to their death.
Banks tend to charge much higher rates for probate services, as fees are often based on percentages, so it’s best to avoid using them for probate support if possible.