Probate involves getting the court’s permission to carry out the wishes within someone's Will and settling the person’s estate. Probate is sometimes not required if the estate is small and in these two main scenarios: There...
How can we help?
Our team of experienced Wills and probate solicitors can assist you with any related service, from making a Will and Lasting Powers of Attorney to the administration of estates and gifting property our specialists have the expertise to assist you. For further information or to arrange an appointment call us on 0203 837 3658 for a no obligation initial chat with one of our advisors.
You may be an executor to a Will or the closest blood-relative of someone who has died, this will clearly be a difficult time and our lawyers can provide help to deal with their estate.
Sometimes family members can no longer look after their own financial affairs and property. We will make sure you can help protect their assets.
Arrange an appointment - Wills & Probate
If you would like to discuss any of our services further call us on 0203 837 3658 for more information or to arrange an appointment with the team. We offer appointments with a member of our Wills and probate team in the following locations: Bolton, Manchester, St Helens, Warrington, Wigan.
Our probate and estate administration solicitors are delighted to offer a fixed price probate service.
As a founding member of Certainty - National Will Register, we are now able to offer free registration to our clients.
Nationwide Will drafting and Probate services
At Stephensons over 80% of our cases are handled without the need for clients to visit our offices. Our Wills and Probate services are no exception with Will drafting and the administration of estates increasingly being taken care of without the need for clients to attend a physical location, though we of course welcome clients to our offices if this is their preference.
Our investment in technology has made it possible for you to submit all the information required to draft your Will via an online smart form. Our online instruction form allows you to work your way through and enter your details stage by stage. If you don’t have time to do it all in one go you can save your progress and return to the form as many times as you like.
The form changes dynamically as you answer questions, therefore you are only shown questions relevant to you. The form is completely safe and sent through our secure website when submitted. This approach saves you time because do not need to review questions that are not relevant to you, it is also instantly submitted rather than needing to be sent through the post.
If you have any questions during the process we can advise you over the telephone or if you would like a video conference this can easily be arranged using Microsoft Office 365 – all you need is access to the internet and a device with a camera.
Although the vast majority of the process can be handled digitally the law requires that a Will is signed and witnessed in the traditional way to be valid, however all the information necessary to draft your Will prior to sending it out to you for valid execution can be gathered without you needing to attend our office.
When someone passes away the first thing you need to do is locate the Will. This may be held at the deceased person’s home, solicitors or bank.
Once identified the executors of the estate will then need to obtain a grant of probate. A grant of probate confirms the authority of the executor to administer the estate. Executors are then responsible for concluding the affairs of the person who has passed away and distributing their assets to their heirs.
An application for a grant of probate can be made without the need to visit a solicitor’s office. Our legal experts can complete the probate application form over the phone with you and submit it on your behalf. It is also possible to have a video conference during this process if anything is not clear.
If we are appointed as the executor or act for the executors we can communicate with all the beneficiaries remotely and handle the estate.
Many people are choosing to appoint a solicitor who can handle their affairs without the need to see them face to face as technology often makes this process faster and more convenient. If you would like to speak to a member of our team to discuss any aspect of making a Will or the administration of an estate please call us on 0203 837 3658 or complete our online enquiry form and we will contact you directly.
The advice provided to non-face to face clients will be through electronic or written communication only e.g. by telephone and email. Stephensons Solicitors LLP assumes no responsibility for, and shall not be liable for, (a) verification of mental capacity or testamentary capacity (b) verification of any undue influence or duress involved (c) the execution of any documents.
Wills and Probate FAQs
If you would like to speak to a member of our Wills, trusts and probate team for advice call us on 0203 837 3658, alternatively complete our online enquiry form and we will contact you to discuss your requirements.
Will my family need to go through Probate?
Sometimes people think that if they have a Will their family or the other beneficiaries can simply collect the assets and divide them in accordance with the Will. However, before they release funds, banks and investment holding institutions will often need a Grant of Probate (if there is a Will) or a Grant of Letters of Administration (if there is no Will). If a person who has died owned a house in their own name, a Grant will be needed to sell the house. Generally speaking if you have a house in your own name and/or have assets in the bank of more than £5,000 you will need to go through Probate. This means that the Executors of your Will (if you've made sure you've got one) will have to send the Will to the Probate Registry with an Affidavit telling the Probate Registry who they are and what your estate is worth. A Probate Judge will then grant them Probate to the Will. The Grant of Probate is what your Executors will need to collect in your assets.
Will there be Inheritance Tax to pay on my estate?
Inheritance Tax is charged at a rate of 40 % on the amount of your net estate (your assets less your debts) which exceeds the Inheritance Tax threshold at your date of death. This threshold changes each April (after The Budget usually) and is £325,000 this year. Anything you have above £325,000 could be taxed at 40 %. Some beneficiaries are exempt from Inheritance Tax however. Assets left to your spouse or a charity are exempt. Some assets which you may own get Inheritance Tax relief, such as a business interest in some circumstances. Sometimes, if you have given away assets during your lifetime, this can change what Inheritance Tax your estate has to pay on your death. Sometimes, there is even Inheritance Tax to pay when a gift is made. A carefully drafted Will could reduce the impact of Inheritance Tax on your estate.
There is no Will and no surviving spouse, does everything go to the eldest child?
No. It depends on your family circumstances. If someone dies without a valid Will then their estate is distributed under what is known as the intestacy rules. If someone is married on death all or large proportions of their estate will go to their surviving spouse. If there is no spouse then children may get all the estate equally between them. More distant relatives may share the estate if someone dies unmarried with no children.
We have to sell an elderly relative's house to pay for their care fees, but our relative doesn't understand their affairs anymore, what can we do?
You may need to apply to the Court of Protection to be appointed a Receiver for your relative. This will mean you can deal with their finances and property and sell their house to pay for care fees. The procedure can take a few months sometimes.
I've no mortgage now, can I give my house to my children?
Possibly but there are risks. If you give it away completely you won't own your home anymore, your children will. If they get divorced, are declared bankrupt or die then the place where you live is part of their assets and could be affected. You may have to leave your home through no fault of your own. Always seek advice about the implications and options if you are thinking of gifting away your home or a share in it.
It is our business to deliver legal services that work for our clients, and you can trust our specialists to take care of things on your behalf.
Why use Stephensons?
Stephensons Trust Corporation - executors
Stephensons is one of the few solicitors in the country to operate a Trust Corporation.
With most firms of solicitors when someone appoints solicitors as executors of their estate in their Will it will actually be the individual partners in the firm. That means that the executor will be a person in the firm who unfortunately could die themselves or become ill or move on to another firm, all of which means that additional costs could be incurred by the estate in appointing another executor. At Stephensons, we recommend that when clients want to appoint Stephensons as executors that they do so through our Trust Corporation, which is a company. Obviously the company can never die, become ill or move on, so it means that there is more consistency and less risk. The actual legal work is still undertaken by the solicitors in the firm to the same high standard.
Stephensons Trust Corporation - deputies
Generally if solicitors are going to be appointed by the Court of Protection to act as an incapacitated person’s deputy the appointment will be of an individual solicitor at the firm. That solicitor could themselves die, get ill or move onto another firm. At Stephensons when applying to become an incapacitated person’s deputy we apply as Stephensons Trust Corporation. This is a company which cannot die, get ill or move on. The appointment of a trust company has a big advantage over individuals in providing consistency and removing the risk of something happening to the deputy. The actual legal work is still undertaken by the experienced lawyers at Stephensons who provide the same excellent service.
Stephensons Trust Corporation has been appointed as an executor by numerous clients and as a deputy by the Court of Protection. Indeed, being one of the first solicitors firms with a trust company to make applications to the court, we assisted the Court of Protection in creating the rules and practice directions which govern applications by trust companies.
We believe that having a trust company rather than the appointment of an individual solicitor provides clients and estates with an important additional degree of consistency and longevity.
The national law firm, Stephensons, has reported a 24.55% mean gender pay gap for fixed hourly pay as at 5th April 2019. The firm has reported its gender pay gap in line with the government’s gender pay gap reporting regulations. The...
Wills & probate staff reorder
- Jill Rushton
- Nicola Mawson
- Claire Booth
- Rachelle Nuttall
- Simon Page
- Katie Mayren
- Sophie Holmes
- Rachel Haywood