The first and foremost thing you need to know is what exactly a probate is and whether or not you need one. Once you have established the uses for a probate and its particulars, you can decide if you need a solicitor to assist you. A probate solicitor is a type of attorney who will represent you to make sure that everything you do stays on the right side of the law as well as benefits everyone to the full extent the probate demands.
What Is Probate?
First and foremost, probate is a legally-binding process. When a person dies, his or her estate must be administered. The receipt of the probate is the first thing that occurs in the legal process of estate administration for a person who has deceased. This process seeks to resolve claims about the person’s property and obligations as well as distributing the deceased person’s belongings according to his or her will. The validity of the deceased person’s will be judged by a probate court that will grant or deny its approval. Once it has been approved, it is an instrument which can be legally enforced if necessary in a court of law. The executor of the will is usually named by the will and is appointed by the probate. This is typically done to ease the process of distributing goods and settling affairs. However, the probate process may also be used to contest a will.
The word itself comes probably from Latin probare. Probare is likely the same root as the word probably. It means to test, prove, examine, or try. The term has been around since the fifteenth century, meaning something that has been proven.
Hanne and Co probate solicitors in London are an example of a group that can help navigate the tricky legal waters. To prove that a deceased person’s will is valid, the will must go through probate. There are many different parts to this process.
Everyone the person owes money, the creditors, must be told that the person has died. This gives them the option to settle outstanding debts the deceased still has. After this, the will’s executors are told how and when to give out the deceased’s belongings. Also, the rights of the creditors have to be considered. At this point, someone might need to establish a representative to handle the affairs of the will. Also, properties must be distributed properly. In the UK, if property is held by two parties, the property automatically passes to the still living owner, unless the will states otherwise. Time is always of the essence during this process become some of these factors are very time sensitive.
In some of the more complex cases, the person’s death could be pending some kind of legal action or the decedent could have been involved in legal action at the time of death. Whatever the case may be, it is sometimes very complicated. Sometimes, depending on the circumstances of the probate, property or belongings might need to be sold to properly distribute the person’s assets and settle the person’s debts. Also, different municipalities have different laws regulating gifts, estate taxes, and inheritances that must be taken into account. The administration of the probate and the will are not going to be free either. Someone must account for the price of these services when executing the will. Some of the assets that need to be transferred to the living beneficiaries are more difficult to allocate, such as life insurance, death designations, and rights to businesses. The assets must be distributed in a timely manner as well.
This person is typically the one chosen by the writer of the will to act as the representative of the state and the deceased person. He or she operates as the legal representative of the estate as well. The executor only becomes the executor once the writer of the will passes away. Legally, the person can choose to deny the appointment as executor. There is nothing demanding that the person accept. This is called renouncing probate. An executor might have to file lawsuits on the decedent’s behalf, pay debts, sell property or dispose of belongings.
The executor is chosen by the will, but what happens when a person has no will at the point of death? Oftentimes, the closest relative is given this responsibility though he or she can refuse to take part. The choosing of an administrator is based on a prioritised list of possible appointees. The list begins, typically, with the closest relative as the first choice. If he or she refuses, the next closest relative is asked. If no one qualifies or if no one accepts, then the court of law can choose an administrator from among a public office holder.
You might be wondering why you would need a solicitor for probate, as the process seems fairly straightforward. In many situations, the probate process is fairly straightforward and simple. You, if you were executor, would simply receive the will from an attorney, allocate the resources and be done. However, many people die with unpaid debts or with pending litigation. When someone dies with unrequited debts, the creditors have rights to recoup their losses. The executors need to know how to go about paying back the debts the decedent incurred. Oftentimes, this is done by selling off properties or assets. However, that can be complex.
Also, when someone dies without a will, the probate process is very difficult. One must attempt to allocate a person’s resources and assets properly and fairly without the guidance of the decedent’s last will and testament. If there is a will but the will is contested, then one must attempt to navigate the waters of litigation while also engaging in probate. Any of these situations can be incredibly difficult to deal with. For these reasons, it is very helpful to hire an attorney. The process is oftentimes very easy, but sometimes requires a little more expertise than you might have.