Probate Estate Administration Case Study

03 August 2015

Client Situation

The family of the deceased contacted our Probate Advisory team for advice and support following the funeral of a lady we shall refer to as Mrs B.

Details of Mrs. B's Estate were discussed with the family and advice was given on the process of administering an Estate. The family wanted to know more about the Probate services offered by Co-op Legal Services.

The family were advised that however they chose to deal with the Estate, the deceased’s original Will would be needed from their Solicitors. They were given the information required to obtain the release of the Will.

After consideration with the family of the deceased, the Executors decided they would like professional assistance with the Estate administration from the Co-op.

With our Probate Complete Service we take full responsibility for obtaining Grant of Probate and dealing with the Legal, Tax (excl VAT), Property and Estate Administration affairs*.

How We Helped

A meeting was booked at a time and location convenient with the family for one of our Probate Consultants to meet with them to review the Estate and provide a fixed fee Probate quote for the work required.

The meeting was attended and the details of the Estate obtained by our Probate Consultant who discussed the full Estate administration process. Our Probate Consultant also answered questions about the process of administering an Estate and provided a fixed fee quote for the work required.

The family discussed matters and gave consideration to quotes they had received from other probate service providers. They chose to use Co-op Legal Services which offered them a clear fixed fee with details of the known disbursements that would be incurred and no hidden extras. Something they had not come across with other providers who met with them.

Whilst the paperwork was being collected and sent into the office, the Executors had access to our Probate support line where they explained further about payment of the funeral invoice, out of pocket expenses which family members had incurred and when other debts of the Estate would be settled.

The papers for the Estate were received at Co-op Legal Services and on the day of receipt we contacted the family to advise that all the paperwork had arrived with us.

A legal check was undertaken to ensure that all aspects of the Estate had been captured and identify any particular complexities that needed to be dealt with by the Probate Case Handler. A dedicated Probate Case Handler contacted the Executors and outlined the initial work that would be carried on their behalf.

A thorough undertaking of the Estate was completed over several months, including dealing with the unclaimed assets register, drafting of a Lasting Power of Attorney, the completion of Inheritance Tax (IHT) forms and the conveyancing involved in selling the property. Assets were encashed and liabilities settled within three months.

To allow the Estate to consider interim payments to the beneficiaries, Indemnities were drafted to cover any claims that may be made pursuant to the Inheritance Provision for Family and Dependants Act 1975 during the 6 months from the Grant of Representation having been issued by the Court and sent to all residuary beneficiaries of the Estate. Interim distributions to the beneficiaries were made in the middle of the fourth month pending the sale of the deceased’s house.

The Outcome

The Probate Case Handler continued to liaise with the conveyancers and update the family of the final stages of the Estate administration. The house sale completed in the sixth month and final meter reading provided the utility providers. Their invoices were settled and Estate accounts finalised for the Executors to approve.

Following approval of the Estate accounts final distribution of the Estate was made in the sixth month. The Executor was impressed with the services provided by Co-op Legal Services and chose to also use our Will writing service.

A testimonial letter was later received by Co-op Legal Services stating:

"I would like to take this opportunity to place on record, my sincere appreciation in recognising Charlotte’s handling of my late Mother’s Estate and affairs.

She has without question, always been extremely helpful in her approach to me and thoroughly professional as to the conduct of the Estate. The process has meant that I have been assured that, at every step, it has been managed in a very efficient and pleasing manner."

Many Co-op Probate Solicitors and Case Handlers are members of the Society of Trusts and Estate Practitioners (STEP). All STEP members are subject to an extensive Code of Professional Conduct, requiring them at all times to act with integrity and in a manner that inspires the confidence, respect and trust of their clients and of the wider community.

Probate Solicitors and Local Probate Consultants are available in England and Wales only for customers using our Probate Complete Service.

Co-op Legal Services is largest provider of Probate and Estate Administration services in England and Wales.

*We can also pay all the costs of a Co-op Funeralcare funeral, providing the Estate owns sufficient assets which can be sold in due course to repay our costs.

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