Probate Solicitor Support during an Inquest
13 March 2019
If a loved one's death has been reported to the coroner, this will have an impact on Probate (the process of winding up the deceased's affairs). Coroner and Inquest Probate Solicitors can take on the responsibility for this work for you and help you to navigate the Probate process.
A death may be reported to the coroner for a number of reasons, and it is surprisingly common, with 45% of all deaths being reported. The role of the coroner is to establish the details of the death, such as how, when and why the death occurred. They will carry out a legal investigation to establish these facts. Sometimes a post-mortem will be needed, and the coroner may then decide that an inquest into the death needs to be held.
How an Inquest Affects Probate
If you're responsible for administering the Estate of a loved one but their death has been reported to the coroner, it can be confusing knowing where to start with the administration of the Estate.
Once the death has been reported to the coroner, this could delay the Probate process by a few weeks, because the death cannot be registered and the final death certificate cannot be issued until the cause of death has been established. This could be the case once their initial investigations have taken place, or once the post-mortem has happened, or it may be necessary to hold an inquest.
In cases where the coroner decides to launch an inquest, the final death certificate will not be issued until this has concluded. However, once the post-mortem has taken place, the coroner can release the body for the funeral and issue an interim death certificate, which confirms the identity of the person who has died.
While the final death certificate is being awaited, the interim death certificate can be used to notify banks and other organisations of the death and it is possible to apply for the Grant of Probate. This means that the Probate process can begin even though the death has not yet been registered.
If Compensation Is Due to the Estate
If the death has been caused as a result of the actions or negligence of a third party, then the inquest may result in a civil claim being brought on behalf of the Estate. This means that the Estate may be entitled to compensation.
Even if the deceased's Estate does not require Probate (because it is a small Estate) Probate will be needed to deal with any compensation payments that are awarded to the Estate. This means that, following an inquest, Probate could be required on an Estate that would not otherwise have needed it.
How a Coroner & Inquest Probate Solicitor Can Help
Going through the inquest of a loved one can be a very difficult experience, particularly at a time of grief, and dealing with the legal paperwork and processes associated with Probate may be the very last thing on your mind.
At Co-op Legal Services, our Coroner and Inquest Probate Solicitors can provide advice and guidance throughout the Probate process when a death has been reported to the coroner. We can apply for the Grant of Probate on your behalf, and deal with all of the legal, tax and administrative work that Probate entails.
If the inquest leads to a civil claim for compensation being brought, then we can work closely with our Personal Injury Inquest Solicitors as the inquest progresses, managing any compensation payments that are made into the Estate.