Probate Service

JE Bennett law are an expert local provider in the provision of legal advice with respect to probate services. The firm provide services from our Office in Sevenoaks to clients in Maidstone, Tonbridge, Tunbridge Wells and across Kent and the South East.

About probate

Probate is dealing with the estate management of a deceased party. It’s often grouped with Wills in terms of legal practice areas as it involves putting the terms decreed in a Will into practice, if a will has been made. If no will is in place, the Rules of Intestacy apply – putting the deceased’s relatives in order of priority – and determinines who will inherit the Estate.

Key tasks for probate lawyers involve a number of legal, financial and administrative aspects. They need to manage the proceeds of the estate, for example bank accounts, stocks and shares and the the sale of a house. They also need to manage a wide variety of tax matters …including Income Tax, Capital Gains Tax and Inheritance Tax. Probate involves dealing with money coming in and money coming out including funeral costs and bills. They need to keep detailed estate accounts to ensure all money is accounted for.

Why Choose JE Bennett Law?

As a specialist vulnerable client law firm, JE Bennett Law’s core business involves estate management and dealing with our clients’ property and financial affairs. Probate is a natural extension of this work and our experienced team are especially well placed to help with all matters pertaining to estate management.

Estate Administration:

Our Probate Team has extensive experience in assisting personal representatives and trustees in a sensitive and efficient way. Broadly, personal representatives are known as executors where the deceased left a Will or Administrators where the deceased did not leave a Will, or the executors named in a Will are unable or unwilling to act. In such circumstances the people entitled to the estate can deal with the administration.

• Where there is a Will, the grant applied for is called a grant of probate.

• Where there is not a Will it is called a grant of letters of administration.

We deal with estates ranging from the very straightforward to highly complex multi-million pound estates. We are also in many cases appointed as executors and trustees and are therefore responsible for fully administering estates.

At the outset a dedicated member of the team will be assigned to the client to guide them through the whole estate administration process and will liaise with other specialist staff members as and when necessary.

Our objective is to support our clients and complete estate administration as quickly and efficiently as possible while avoiding the many difficulties and pitfalls that can arise on the way. We can also take away a lot of the stress and frustration that families face when dealing with the estates of their loved ones.

We have a very flexible approach to our services which allows our clients to choose how much, or how little, they wish to make use of our services.

Our probate services fall into three categories:

Full service – we can take full responsibility for dealing with all aspects of the estate administration process. This involves everything from arranging the funeral, clearing the deceased’s property, identifying and arranging valuations of assets, preparing the grant application documents and tax returns, collecting in the assets after the grant has been issued, dealing with all tax matters, settling liabilities, preparing the estate accounts and distributing the balance of the estate to the beneficiaries. Sometimes of course the family or executors will want to deal with certain matters themselves, for example, arranging the funeral or clearing the property and we can, of course, accommodate that.

Grant only service – in straightforward cases, we can deal with the legal formalities of obtaining probate leaving the personal representatives to deal with all of the administrative work. This requires the personal representatives to notify all banks, building societies and other organisations of the death and to obtain account balances or values for the deceased’s assets (and for any accounts or assets in the joint names of the deceased and another) as at the date of death. Once this information is provided to us we will prepare all the documentation, advise about any Inheritance Tax issues and make the application for the grant. After the grant has been issued, the personal representatives will take responsibility for the collection and distribution of the estate. We will, of course be available to provide additional assistance as required. This could range from finishing off the administration of the estate to advising about specific matters such as the meaning and effect of the will, tax issues, the preparation of estate accounts and inheritance tax and financial planning for the beneficiaries.

Advisory service – in some cases, personal representatives will want to undertake nearly all of the work involved with the estate but will ask for advice about certain discreet aspects, such as Inheritance Tax, or on an ad hoc basis when they are struggling with complexities. We are happy to assist as and when required.

Contact our team today to see how we can help.