Whether you’ve been named as an executor or an administrator, acting as a personal representative for an estate is a big responsibility and isn’t something that should be taken lightly.
Though it is possible to administer an estate without the help of a solicitor, there are many benefits to seeking professional legal help.
It saves a lot of time
Even a small and relatively straightforward estate can be very time consuming to wind up. This is especially likely to be the case if you’ve never administered an estate before and have a lot of research and learning to do. Depending on your other responsibilities, you may be hard-pressed to find the time to dedicate to this process. An experienced solicitor will be able to help you through the process and save you many hours of work. It’s worth keeping in mind here that a specialist will have the knowledge and experience to be able to complete the work far quicker than you’d be able to do yourself.
It’s less stressful
In addition to being time-consuming, administering an estate can also be very stressful. This is especially likely to be the case if you’re responsible for the estate of a much-loved family member. The grieving period is difficult enough without having to take full responsibility for complex administrative work. Specialist solicitors have a great deal of experience in supporting people through these difficult periods and ensuring that estates are administered in the way the person who has died would’ve wanted.
Solicitors have experience and expertise
Probate and inheritance tax are complex subjects that can be difficult to navigate. There are a great deal of complicated rules and precedents to keep in mind, as well as a lot of paperwork. Probate solicitors manage this type of work every day and have all the expertise needed to complete work efficiently and to a high standard. Choosing to work with a solicitor gives you the benefit of this knowledge and ensures nothing will be missed or forgotten, and that all relevant reliefs and benefits are taken advantage of.
It offers legal protection
Not only is acting as a personal representative a big commitment in terms of the amount of work it involves, it’s also a big responsibility from a legal perspective. Personal representatives can be held legally responsible for any mistakes or oversights, and can be ordered to pay fees or fines from their own pocket.
When you work with a solicitor, they’ll ensure everything is properly taken care of. They’ll also be able to advise on how to protect yourself from any financial claims that could be lodged against an estate in the future.
It’s not as expensive as you think
One of the main reasons personal representatives choose not to work with a solicitor to manage the probate process is because they think it will be too expensive. However, most specialist probate solicitors are very flexible and offer a range of different services depending on your budget. For example, you may decide to seek legal support to manage the process of applying for probate but then administer the rest of the estate yourself. This can save on legal fees while still giving you peace of mind.
Where should you start?
There are no rules about which solicitor you have to work with on behalf of an estate. You may wish to work with the solicitor who originally wrote the Will, but there’s no obligation to do so. Once you’ve found a solicitor you think you might want to work with, the first step will be to have an informal conversation about the estate. This is the perfect opportunity for you to ensure the solicitor is a good fit, both in terms of their experience and their approach.
How Roche Legal can help
We are reassuring experts who can help you with a wide range of legal matters. Please get in touch if you need legal support with:
- Trusts and Estate Planning
- Probate and Estate Administration
- Contested Probate and Will Disputes
- Powers of Attorney
- Court of Protection matters
- Presumption of Death Applications
- Missing Persons Guardianship Applications
Need further help?
If you would like to discuss how we can assist, please contact us.