What is probate?

Lawyer talking to a womanProbate is the legal process by which a person’s estate is sorted out after they have passed away. Depending on the size of their estate, how much they prepared for death beforehand and various other factors, the process can be more or less complicated. It is often easiest for someone to involve a legal professional to help with the administration process such as a probate solicitors in Portsmouth.

It is true that hiring legal professionals, such as Andrew & Andrew, as probate solicitors in Portsmouth can cost more than settling the estate independent of legal advice. However, involving experts ensures that all obligations are met, fees paid and that the estate is fully settled. It can avoid costly and damaging repercussions from omissions or errors in the process at a later date.

The process

The process is different depending on whether someone has made a will or not.

If the deceased made a will, they will have named executors to administer the estate. Not every named executor needs to take part in the process. Often, the first thing that an executor needs to do is apply for a grant of representation, which allows them to act on behalf of the deceased in legal and financial matters. There are some cases where this may not be necessary. A probate solicitors in Portsmouth will easily be able to determine whether a grant of representation is required or not. In these cases, the will determines how the estate is divided up barring any complications as discussed below.

If the deceased has not left a will, the administrative duties normally fall to the next of kin. This is not necessarily the person they have been living with if they were not married or in a civil partnership. It is their closest blood relative who is over the age of 18. In these cases, the law decides how assets are distributed.

Complications

Even where a will details the wishes of the deceased, there can still be complications if the will is deemed to be fraudulent or invalid. Someone may also be able to prove that the will was drawn up under duress or after coercion.