Probate in the United Kingdom

When someone dies, someone has to pick up the pieces. No one wants this job. Fortunately, it is usually already decided and assigned to someone. Probate law ensures the issuance of a legal document authorizing the handling of the estate in accordance with the Last Will and Testament. If there is a Will, it has hopefully named a responsible person to handle the money, property and possessions left by the deceased. This person will collect all monies, pay all debts, and distribute all the rest to those entitled. He/she will be named Executor/Executrix respectively. To make matters simple, the terms Executor/Executrix (with Will) and Testator/Testatrix (without Will) have been replaced with Personal Representative.

One’s wishes are determined by a Last Will and Testament. The deceased, hopefully, has made up his/her mind in deciding the distribution of his/her assets. This instrument is the deceased’s last effort to carry out his/her wishes. Without a Last Will and Testament, the deceased has fewer options in his/her outcome.

There is an abundance of general information about probate online. However, finding the right probate solicitor can be laborious. The search can be simplified by checking with the Solicitors Regulation Authority (SRA). The SRA will help find reputable solicitors who hold a practicing certificate to offer probate services and are licensed to practice law in the United Kingdom. While there are many free services to help you in this search, one of the best ways to find a competent solicitor is by word of mouth. It is important to have a probate solicitor you can trust, one who is understanding and compassionate. This is a difficult time.

The importance of getting one’s affairs in order cannot be overstated. Planning for one’s death is never a popular subject; it is, however, essential for loved ones to be provided for. There are many free online advice guides to walk one through the necessary steps to making a Last Will and Testament, knowing the right type of Will, inheritance tax issues (and possible ways of avoidance), trusts, and much more. The information will, at least, prepare one for an educated discussion with a probate solicitor. Knowing what options are available beforehand is important in planning ahead, and there is no amount of money that can buy peace of mind. It is tragic enough losing a loved one. Having a chaotic and unresolved mess only adds to the unbearable stress.