Dealing with a bereavement can be an incredibly stressful, emotional time. Families can suffer the loss of a loved one long after he or she has died, feeling the weight of the world without them with each day that passes, hopefully one day coming to terms with it and accepting it, although never forgetting what it was like to have them around and be a part of their lives.
Words and phrases like inheritance tax, last will and testament, estate administration and will executors become used like an unwelcome guest, and are part of a larger procedure or process known as probate.
Probate is a gloomy subject to discuss after the passing of a friend or family member, but it is an important duty for all those involved to see the process through, so that the last will and testament of the deceased can be realized. People tend not to think about probate until after the event and there are a number of hurdles that must be jumped.
Things can get complicated and difficult if the deceased has left no will or has not named people to act as will executors. Even when the deceased has left a will, it can be extremely helpful to seek professional advice from a probate solicitor who can lessen the load especially if you are facing difficult times and in a wary emotional state.
How long does probate take?
Probate can take a long time and can be a trying process, due in no small part to the number of problems that can arise and disputes it can cause. These can range from locating the deceased’s assets, determining the actual state of the deceased’s financial affairs or even the need to resolve disputes between family members and personal representatives (in the event that there is more than one). There is also the matter of intestacy.
What is Intestacy?
Intestacy occurs when the deceased has not left a will – it is then up to the law to determine who should deal with the deceased’s estate, which includes property and personal possessions. How to proceed in such circumstances is governed by rules of intestacy.
There are provisions for each particular set of circumstances. For example, if you were a partner but weren’t married or were married/ in a civil partnership, different rules are applied as to your right to inherit the estate of the deceased.
In cases of intestacy it is often important to contact a probate solicitor and consult them concerning the way in which you can proceed, because it is possible in certain complex situations that it can take months or even years to resolve the issues.
It is also important to find out about who pays inheritance tax and how much is needed to be paid, and whether it would be beneficial to enlist the services of a probate solicitor or an independent probate advisor, whereby you or a family member may act as the executor or administrator of the estate.
Ultimately, dealing with probate efficiently will get the process out of the way sooner, and allow you more time to grieve and come to terms with the loss of your loved one.