Probate, Estate Administration and Beyond: 5 reasons why you should use the solicitor

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Until fairly recently, if you needed to deal with the administration of an estate following somebody’s death, there were two basic choices; you could deal with it yourself or you could retain the services of a solicitor. This is no longer the case as the Government has opened up the market to other providers. However, there are still many very good reasons why you should retain a firm of solicitors to assist you in the administration of an estate rather than an alternative provider.

1. Experience

It’s fair to say that solicitors have been dealing with the administration of estates for quite some time; Longmores recently celebrated our 200th anniversary. On an individual level, solicitors will tend to have not only a good deal of personal experience but be able to call upon their colleagues who may have a similar or greater amount of experience. This means that there are very few situations which we have not dealt with at some point in the past. There is a saying “there’s nothing new under the sun” and whilst that is not entirely true, we have seen pretty much everything that could present itself during the administration of estate.

2. Continuity of Services

This goes hand-in-hand with experience. When you have been assisting and advising clients throughout their lives as their solicitor, you will be well placed to assist their relatives after their deaths as you will have a good working knowledge of their affairs, family background and other relevant details. This speeds up the estate administration process as we are not coming to the matter cold. During my time at Longmores, I have found myself not only preparing Wills for clients, but also dealing with the administration of the estates when that person dies, and in many cases, dealing with the administration of the estate of their spouse or partner as well on their subsequent death.

This continuity also extends to after death services. Many people include trusts in their estates in favour of family and loved ones and having a single point of contact to return to for advice on this (and sometimes we are a Trustee as well), means that you can be assured that are aware of the circumstances surrounding your affairs whether advice is offered on an ad hoc basis or you appoint us to deal with the day-to-day administration of trusts.

3. Contacts

Administering an estate is not simply a process of assessing the deceased’s assets and liabilities, obtaining a grant, settling any tax and liabilities which may arise and distributing the cash. Our history in estate administration has given us a wide network of trusted contacts and advisors who you can rely on to deal with the non-legal aspects of the estate. This would include recommending estate agents, chartered surveyors, people to value the contents of property and clear them, stockbrokers, finding missing beneficiaries, land agents for rural property, and many others besides.

4. Additional Legal Services

Similarly, when dealing with an estate the process of simply proving the Will and paying out the cash is not all there is to it. Many estates will require additional legal services to finalise them, the most obvious of these being the sale of the deceased’s property. However, there may also the other services required such as advice on the transfer or winding up of a deceased’s business, commercial property issues and sadly, challenges to Wills by disgruntled third parties who feel that they should have benefitted.

We offer a full service of legal advice and the ability to keep these matters in-house means that communication between the various departments handling different aspects of the estate is much smoother than involving a third party to deal with a specific legal aspect. We are, of course, completely confident in handing over the matter to one of our colleagues in another department, assured that they will be doing the best for you.

5. Flexibility

Because of all the points mentioned above, we can adapt the services we offer to you to ensure that you get the best outcome in the administration of the estate. We can act to simply obtain a grant and then let you deal with the remainder of the estate, or we can deal with all of the estate from start to finish, or any combination of this.

Our flexibility also extends to the ability to advise on the best way to distribute the assets in the estate, to advise on and prepare the paperwork to vary the terms of the Will if this is required, to work with trusted advisors and to ensure that when the matter is wrapped up, you have received both our best attention and the best service you can obtain.

Here to Help

For information concerning the administration of estate, or any other private matter, please contact Alastair Liddiard, Partner specialising in Wills, Trusts and Tax Planning, Probate and Powers of Attorney.

Please note the contents of this blog are given for information only and must not be relied upon. Legal advice should always be sought in relation to specific circumstances.