As family law experts the team at Higgins Miller are used to dealing with people at highly stressful moments in their life. This applies to matters such as divorce, children disputes and contact with social services, and it also makes us the ideal people to turn to when someone close to you dies. As top probate lawyers, we’re used to dealing with people who have just lost somebody close to them, and we understand that many of our clients find the combination of emotional distress and complex legal issues to be all but overwhelming. That’s why we put working in an approachable, empathetic and transparent manner on a par with providing advice which is honed through a combination of expertise and hands-on experience.
The top probate lawyers you deal with at Higgins Miller will know exactly what the process of probate involves, how getting the administrative side of matters dealt with as quickly and smoothly as possible can actually help with the grieving process, and how daunting many people can find the technicalities of dealing with the estate of someone close to them. That’s why we work side by side with clients in order to ensure that they know exactly what is happening through each and every part of the process. We don’t use complicated technical language because we know that people can find it intimidating, and we work at the pace dictated by the client, enabling them to fully come to grips with exactly what is happening.
As top probate lawyers, we know how complicated sorting out the estate of a deceased person can become, especially if they neglected to take the time to write their will. In cases such as these, the law around how different parts of an estate can be dealt with comes into play, but even when a will has been written – something which is increasingly the case – matters such as Inheritance Tax, business interests and family ties generated by second or third marriages can quickly complicate matters. Top probate lawyers can work to guide you through this legal maze and greatly reduce the stress and anxiety you might otherwise feel.
The term ‘probate’ itself refers to the fact of being legally entitled to deal with a person’s estate by bringing their assets together, arriving at a valuation and then passing those assets on in the manner set out in any will. Most will name an executor who will have the responsibility of doing this and if one hasn’t been named then the duty generally falls on the closest living relative. The executor will have to request a Grant of Representation which has to be presented to banks and building societies in order to gain access to any funds left in accounts with them when the individual died. Other assets which we, as top probate lawyers, will advise the executor to have independently valued could include property, life insurance policies, stocks and shares, pensions and items such as jewellery, furniture or artworks. Once these have all been valued any debts left behind by the deceased can be subtracted and the remaining amount will represent the official value of the estate.
The complexity which surrounds the issue of Inheritance Tax (IHT) is just one more reason why the advice of our top probate lawyers could prove to be invaluable. At the moment, IHT isn’t payable if an estate is worth less than £325,000 or has been left to a spouse, civil partner or qualifying charity. Unused allowance originally belonging to a deceased spouse or civil partner can also be transferred, which lifts the limit as high as £625,000. Whether IHT is due or not the executor will have to provide detailed paperwork for HMRC. In the case of estates which aren’t due to pay IHT this will be a Return of Information form, but if IHT is due then the much longer and more complex IHT400 form will have to be completed. Having top probate lawyers to advise as you perform these tasks will ensure that you don’t make the kind of is takes which could lead to paying more IHT than you actually have to.
The process of probate can be complex and time-consuming, but it is a necessary step for many people dealing with the loss of a loved one. Working with the top probate lawyers at Higgins Miller will help to cut both the time and stress involved, and allow you to concentrate on processing the difficult emotions you will inevitably be dealing with. If you’d like to speak to one of our top probate lawyers or learn more about the probate process in general, please call us on 0161 429 7251 or email us at [email protected] We’ve recently passed our Cyber Essential accreditation, something which demonstrates our forward-thinking attitude and determination to remain ahead of the competition. A 20-minute appraisal can be provided free of charge, and if you want to find out more we’ll provide the first appointment for a fixed fee, so you don’t have to worry about how much our advice is going to cost. If you want to find out more about our wider charging system then please take a look here.