What Does a Probate Solicitor Do?
06 January 2017
By Senior Probate Solicitor Jennifer Goda, TEP
Probate Solicitors help people who have lost friends and relatives, which is a very difficult and stressful time for those left behind. It takes a particular type of person to be a Probate Solicitor. You have to have excellent legal, accountancy and administrative skills, but most of all, you need to be good with people, as you need to help them through what can be a complicated process at a time when the very last thing they need is to face lots of paperwork and legal jargon.
As Probate Solicitors we know the law. We understand Wills and when they are (or are not) valid, and we know what the legal terms used in Wills mean. We also understand what happens and who gets what when someone dies without leaving a Will; which is called dying Intestate.
Probate Solicitors are also experts in all the different taxes that have to be dealt with when someone dies, such as Income Tax, Capital Gains Tax and Inheritance Tax. There are different tax returns that have to be filled in when dealing with an Estate, and Probate Solicitors know all the tax forms very well.
It’s not just about the law though. Probate Solicitors also have to be very good with numbers. Dealing with an Estate involves a lot of money coming in, like the proceeds from selling a house, bank accounts and stocks and shares. It also involves a lot of money going out, such as funeral costs, taxes, and utility bills.
It is crucially important to keep track of all the figures, and at Co-op Legal Services our Probate Solicitors and specialists prepare detailed Estate accounts, in which every single penny of Estate money is accounted for properly. The Estate accounts are a good way of keeping the family informed of what is happening with the Estate, and they are kept as a permanent record in case anybody should need to see them in the future.
Probate Solicitors are very organised people and have great attention to detail, as Probate is an extremely paperwork heavy process. It is essentially winding up somebody’s entire life, and with that comes an enormous amount of paperwork to read through. Sometimes in Probate, even the tiniest of details – which can be hidden away on a document that was forgotten about long ago – can have a huge impact on an Estate, so Probate Solicitors make sure they read everything carefully so that nothing important is missed.
Patience and fairness are important for Probate Solicitors as well. Probate is a time consuming process, and can take over a hundred hours of work to complete. This can make Probate very expensive, especially if you are being charged an hourly rate for the work being done.
At Co-op Legal Services our Probate Solicitors and specialists believe that the fairest way to charge is to provide a fixed fee quote at the very beginning. That way, there are no nasty surprises when the bill comes, as everything is agreed at the start. We believe it’s important for our Probate Solicitors, Lawyers, Case Handlers and other specialists to focus on helping families with Probate, rather than keeping track of how many hours they could charge to the Estate.
Probate Solicitors know the importance of getting things right, as they have often seen many examples of people trying to deal with Probate themselves, but then ending up in terrible difficulty, sometimes even facing personal financial liability for innocent mistakes. It’s always better to get help from a Probate Solicitor right from the beginning, as it can be much more complicated and expensive if you only ask for help when things start to go wrong.
If you have lost a loved one, and you need help with the Probate process, call our Probate Advisory team for free initial advice and guidance.
We can arrange for one of our experienced Probate Consultants to meet you at your home to discuss the Estate of your loved one in more detail, and to provide you with a fixed fee quote for dealing with Probate from start to finish.
Probate Consultants are available in England and Wales only for customers using our Probate Complete Service.