Probate Solicitors in Stockport and Cheshire for Estate Administration

Our specialist Probate Solicitors in Stockport have decades of experience in the Administration of Estates and probate.

Whilst grieving a loved one, having the responsibility of sorting out the assets they left behind can be extremely overwhelming. This is completely normal. Our friendly team is here to help guide you through probate matters in a sensitive but efficient way, so that you can focus on what really matters.

At Mounteney Solicitors, we offer simple and clear explanations, however complex the situation. We understand that your estates can be large, with assets abroad, properties to sort out and beneficiaries in different countries: that’s why we are here to alleviate the pressure on you and your family through providing unsurpassed advice.

We offer fixed fees, so you always know where you stand and there will be no surprises, so contact us if you need help with a probate related matter with our offices in the Stockport area.


What is Probate?

The term “probate” is used to describe the process of dealing with the property, money and assets of a person who has died according to the wishes of the deceased. This involves organising the distribution of money and assets after paying debts and inheritance tax where necessary.

Probate involves proving that a will is valid and then confirming that you have the authority to deal with that person’s estate. This will allow the executors to begin dealing with the deceased person’s assets and funds in terms of how this will be distributed if there is a will.

Our specialist Probate Solicitors understand that this may be a difficult and daunting time for you, but we are here to support you in every step along the way.


What is grant of probate?

Permission to execute the will is given through a Grant of Probate or Letter of Administration.

If you do not obtain these when someone dies, it will not be possible to legally transfer the deceased person’s finances and property to the beneficiaries. In short, the beneficiaries will not be able to inherit what was intended for them.

Probate may not be required if the person who died jointly owned the property, shares or money.


What Happens if Someone Dies Without a Will?

If your loved one passes away without a will, do not worry. Our specialist Probate Solicitors can help you deal with these cases to ensure they can be sorted. Instead of applying for probate, you will apply for letters of administration – otherwise, the laws of intestacy will determine how the estate will be divided.

This is usually made by the person closest to the relative, such as a husband or wife followed by any children over the age of 18. We can provide in-depth advice around this application process.


The Probate Process

Whilst the probate process is complicated, we will ensure that we take on most of the responsibility to help the process run smoothly.

There are 5 main phases, as outlined below:

  1. Identifying all of the deceased assets, such as property and investments, as well as their debts. This will determine how much the estate is worth.
  2. Paying inheritance tax to HMRC – we will do our best to keep this to a minimum. The application for a grant of probate will then be made.
  3. Selling the deceased’s assets, settling their debts, paying any estate administration fees, and paying any remaining income or capital gains tax to HMRC once the grant of probate has been issued
  4. Preparing estate accounts for payments to beneficiaries and sending these to the executor for approval.
  5. The assets are transferred to beneficiaries provided there are no challenges to the will, however if there are challenges do not worry. Our team is experienced in resolving these so that the matter can be settled in a timely manner.


Who can apply for probate?

If you’re over 18 years old and named in the will, you can apply for probate.

If there are other people named in the will too, you may need to make a joint application.

If there isn’t a will and you are the next of kin, the order of priority for applying for probate is as follows:

  • spouse
  • children (including children adopted by the deceased but excluding step children)
  • parents
  • siblings
  • grandparents
  • uncles or aunts

if children, siblings and uncles or aunts of the deceased person have died before the deceased, their children may apply for probate.

It’s worth noting that if you are named in the will as the Executor but you don’t want to act, you don’t have to.


How Long Does Probate Take?

We understand that you want this process to be dealt with as fast as is possible, and that’s why our team will work hard to act swiftly through the phases. Submission of the application can be completed within a day, or faster if necessary and gaining the grant of probate will usually take around a month. The whole process on average takes between 6-12 months depending on individual circumstances.


What are the time limits on applying for probate?

Although there are no official time limits on applying for probate, there are clearly some good reasons not to delay doing so for too long.

Until the Grant of Probate has been obtained the beneficiaries will be unable to obtain their inheritance.  If there are several beneficiaries and the other parties feel that there are unnecessary delays, it is possible for them to sue for withholding their property.

A possibly more pressing issue initially though could be the payment of inheritance tax, as the Inheritance Tax Return Form IHT400 must be filed within one year of the person’s date of death.

However, you should not leave it too long because the will cannot be considered settled until the relevant tax forms have been submitted.  The beneficiaries may choose to take action if you delay the process unnecessarily.


How our Probate Services can Help You

We have a dedicated team who are highly experienced in dealing with estates of different degrees of complexity. We have experience ranging from smaller estates to more complex matters involving foreign, business and agricultural assets.

We understand that this is a challenging time, and our aim is to lift the weight off your shoulders through providing high quality advice given by our friendly and approachable legal advisors.

We will approach your matter with delicacy at all times, with our full solution which offers:

  • Advice on the probate process throughout.
  • Applications to a grant of probate (if there is a will) or letters of administration (if there is no will).
  • Calculations of inheritance tax and liaising with HMRC to file the tax return and deal with any issues surrounding tax.
  • Management of the deceased’s finances including selling property and settling debts.
  • Distribution of the estate between the beneficiaries of the will or in the case of no will, under the rules of intestacy.

Our specialist probate lawyers are here for you, and will explain things in a clear and concise manner to make best use of your time. We appreciate the difficult situation and aim to make the process as easy as possible.


Can I stop a probate if there is a disagreement?

If there is a dispute about the will, it is possible to stop probate by entering what’s known as a caveat by making an application with the probate registry.

A Caveat prevents executors or administrators of the will from obtaining a Grant of Probate or Letters of Administration. They are unable to distribute or administer the Estate until the dispute has been resolved. Caveats can help parties investigate the details of an estate before proceeding, as this can be a time consuming process.

Under the Inheritance Act, you only have six months from the date the Grant of Probate is issued in which to contest a will.

If you feel you were treated unfairly, or you believe the will is not valid for some reason it is important to seek legal advice as early as possible to ensure your interests are protected.


Money Matters

We understand that costs can be high which is why we keep them to a minimum. Our fees are cheaper than others locally with our charges being proportionate to the value that we provide to you. We want to make this as affordable as possible for you so you can get the most out of our service. Our aim is to be up front with any legal costs, which is why our fees are fixed, starting from £930. Some customers may also be able to reclaim the VAT charged.

Different costing bands are as follows:

  • To extract probate for ‘excepted estates’, i.e. lower value estates valued under the Inheritance Tax threshold, or over that limit with spousal exemption, including submitting the relevant tax form (but without any estate administration) we charge £775 + VAT = £930 plus the Government grant fee for Solicitor extractions (currently £273).
  • To extract probate for estates valued over the Inheritance Tax threshold, including submitting the relevant tax form (but without any estate administration) we charge £1,650+ VAT = £1,980 plus the Government grant fee for Solicitor extractions (currently £273).
  • Where we administer the probate itself, our fee for obtaining the Grant of Probate, completion of the appropriate tax forms and administration of the estate is generally 1% of the estate (net, plus VAT) plus the applicable Government grant fee (see above). Our fee may vary depending on the assets held within the estate.


Contact our Probate Solicitors

Our specialist Probate Solicitors in Stockport are experts in all aspects of probate and estate administration, with deep understanding of the legalities that come with grants of probate, contesting wills, and distributing assets to the beneficiaries of the estate.

Having been established for 18 years, our specialists at Mounteney Solicitors are on hand to help with any probate matters you face, providing our specialist probate services from our offices in Bramhall, Heald Green, and Cheadle We have helped countless individuals through the process of writing a will, obtaining probate and administering estates in Stockport, Manchester, the North West, and across England and Wales.

You can count on us to deliver you the best service to ensure that your family is treated with respect throughout the process under such difficult circumstances. Don’t hesitate to get in contact today to begin the probate process for polite, unsurpassed and valuable advice. every step along the way.