Probate Solicitors

Probate Solicitors London

Our Probate Lawyers focus on the efficient management and administration of estates ensuring they are handled sensitively and swiftly. When someone dies, the executors of the Will, or their next of kin where there is no Will, have significant duties. We can help guide you through the process.

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  • “The agile team at Osbornes acts for a wide range of high-net-worth individuals and families in complex estate and trust litigation, advising on a wide array of contentious trust and estate matters.”

  • “Jan is an expert in international probate work and is praised for a sensible and pragmatic approach to cases.”

Specialist advice from expert probate lawyers

Our probate solicitors focus on taking the burden away from the deceased’s personal representatives as the circumstances require by providing expert advice and guidance. We will  ensure the affairs of your loved one are:

  • Wound up
  • Assets transferred or sold as required and
  • The beneficiaries receive their entitlement without delay.

We offer all our clients fast expert advice whether the deceased died having made a Will or not. If there is no Will the rules of succession to property and other assets are determined by the Intestacy Rules.  We will advise on their effect which often is to create a statutory trust where the deceased leaves children and a surviving spouse.  In these circumstances, it may be necessary to trace distant or long-lost family members and we can make the necessary arrangements.

On our client’s behalf, we will complete the appropriate Inland Revenue forms, which are now required for all estates, and all other papers necessary to obtain the Grant of Representation to enable the deceased’s assets to be released and distributed to the beneficiaries either in accordance with the Will or under the Intestacy Rules.

Where the deceased did not consider tax planning before death it is possible to vary the Will or the effect of intestacy and thereby create substantial tax savings.  We focus on the enhancement of clients’ assets by advising on estate and succession planning and will advise executors and beneficiaries on the possible variation of estates where appropriate.

Contentious probate

Our contentious probate solicitors will advise you in relation to disputes that arise during the probate process. These disputes can involve a variety of issues related to estate administration, including contesting a will, the appointment of the executor or administrator, the distribution of assets, and the payment of debts and taxes.

If you are involved in a contentious probate case, it is important to work with an experienced lawyer regulated by the Solicitors Regulation Authority who can help you navigate the legal process and protect your interests.

International probate

Our team of specialist international probate solicitors have significant experience in dealing with cross-border estates in countries including the UK and Australia, Europe (Germany, Spain, France and Italy), India, Hong Kong, Singapore, The United States and Brazil.

Read our articles – What is Probate and How much does probate cost?

Speak to a probate solicitor today

For a free initial conversation call 020 7485 8811

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    Probate FAQs

    What is grant of probate?

    A grant of probate is the formal document issued to the executors of a will enabling them to deal with the deceased’s assets. The grant is issued by one of the District Probate Registries in England or by the Principal Registry of the Family Division of the High Court. Find out more here.

    How long does it take to get a grant of representation?

    It can take just a few weeks, but usually several months at present, to get the grant, depending on how complex the estate assets are and how quickly it is possible to get together all necessary information to complete the inheritance tax (IHT) return which has to be done before the grant can be applied for.

    The form is an IHT400 or IHT205 depending on the type and value of the estate. If IHT is payable some of this has to be paid before the grant will be issued but banks and building societies usually release monies from the deceased’s accounts for this purpose.

    How does the probate process work?

    Our Will and our estate are individual to each of us, so the full probate process can vary depending on the instructions that have been left in the will.

    The basic process for an executor will include:

    1. Bringing together the full details of the estate’s assets and debts
    2. Making the application for a Grant of Probate (this is the formal document giving the authority needed to administer the estate)
    3. Completing an inheritance tax return and paying any tax due.
    4. Change the order of 2 and 3 above

    Inheritance Tax return

    The Inheritance Tax (IHT) return when completed is lodged with HMRC where tax is payable and the necessary IHT is sent to HMRC. If no IHT is payable, the tax return IHT205 is sent direct to the chosen probate registry with the statement of truth when it has been signed by the executors or the administrators (collectively known as Personal Representatives or ‘PRs’). The statement of truth has replaced the oath for executors and oath for administrators.

    The statement of truth is the document by which the PRs formally apply for the grant of representation and promise to collect in all the deceased’s assets, pay any debts and distribute the estate in accordance with the terms of the will or as required by the Intestacy Rules which apply when someone dies without a valid will.

    How long will it take for probate to be granted?

    The grant normally takes a few weeks or so to issue and then it is sent to the banks, building societies etc. and then accounts can be closed, shares transferred or sold and the monies released will be used to pay any outstanding debts of the deceased. The balance can then be paid to the beneficiaries under the terms of the will or in accordance with the Intestacy Rules.

    How long will dealing with Probate take?

    For most estates probate will take around twelve months to complete. Each estate is different and completion will depend on the size and complexity of the estate. International Probate may be more complicated as this involves assets in more than one country and usually takes longer to complete.

    Do you always have to go through probate?

    Not all estates need to go through the probate process. In general, smaller estates with few assets and straightforward distributions may not need to go through probate. Probate may not be needed if the deceased’s combined assets are worth less than £5,000.

    Other reasons why probate may be avoided, include:

    1. Designating beneficiaries: Many financial accounts, such as retirement accounts and life insurance policies, allow you to name a beneficiary who will receive the assets in the account upon your death. Designating beneficiaries can be an effective way to avoid probate, as the assets in these accounts will pass directly to the beneficiary without going through the probate process.
    2. Setting up a trust: A trust is a legal entity that holds and manages assets for the benefit of another person or entity. By transferring assets to a trust, you can specify how the assets should be managed and distributed after your death without going through probate.
    3. Holding assets jointly: If you own assets jointly with another person, such as a joint bank account or joint property, these assets will typically pass directly to the surviving joint owner upon your death without going through probate.

    Who inherits if there is no will?

    In the UK, if a person dies without a will, they are said to have died “intestate.” When this happens, the intestacy rules set out in the Administration of Estates Act 1925 determine how the deceased person’s assets will be distributed.

    Under the intestacy rules, the deceased person’s assets will be distributed to their next of kin in a specific order of priority. The first priority is the spouse or registered civil partner of the deceased. If the deceased had children, the spouse or civil partner will receive the personal possessions of the deceased and the first £270,000 of the estate, as well as half of the remaining balance. The children will receive the other half of the remaining balance.

    If the deceased did not have a spouse or civil partner, the entire estate will be distributed to the children. If the deceased had no surviving spouse, civil partner, or children, the estate will be distributed to the deceased’s parents. If the deceased had no surviving parents, the estate will be distributed to siblings or, if there are no surviving siblings, to more distant relatives.

    If the deceased had no surviving relatives, the estate will go to the Crown.

    It is important to note that the intestacy rules do not provide for other individuals, such as friends or unmarried partners, to inherit. If you want to ensure that your assets are distributed according to your wishes, it is important to create a will.

    Read our blog post What happens when someone dies without a will?

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    • "Commitment to the cause, willingness to go the extra mile and complete command of the area mean they always give the right advice and do the best job possible."

      Legal 500 2023

    • "They are completely committed to doing the absolute best they can for every single client. They are bright, knowledgeable and innovative."

      Legal 500 2023

    • "This team perhaps does not have the reputation in this area it ought to have. It quietly handles some very big, high profile disputes. It has an expert team to do so and provides sensible pragmatic advice to its clients."

      Legal 500 2023

    • "The agile team at Osbornes acts for a wide range of high-net-worth individuals and families in complex estate and trust litigation, advising on a wide array of contentious trust and estate matters."

      Legal 500 2023

    • "I wish to thank you for your advice, efficiency and professionalism throughout which has been greatly appreciated."

      Client review

    • "I am proud to be a private client of Osbornes Solicitors LLP, a client of many years. I appreciate the swift and efficient work of the Private Client Department Team."

      Client

    • "Jan Atkinson, with her steely, steady, calming presence, instils confidence in the most highly-strung of us clients. With her masterful knowledge of the law, old and new, and its application, Jan can navigate through the most complex of cases to a successful end."

      Legal 500 2021

    • "I find Osbornes’ client-friendly approach welcoming and refreshing"

      Legal 500 2021

    • "A medium-sized London firm dealing with big litigation and doing it extremely well because of a depth of expertise and experience."

      Legal 500 2021

    • My family had the pleasure of Jan Atkinson working with us on the will and probate issues of [my mother's] estate in Camden and Ireland after she passed on last year. Jan and her assistant(s) offered us a fantastic service at a sad time.

      Client Review

    • "Jan Atkinson stands out for her wide-ranging knowledge and experience of estates; whatever problem you throw at her, she has seen it all before and is able to find a creative and sustainable solution. She has exceptional commitment to her clients and explores every avenue to find the best solution for them"

      Legal 500 2021 - Jan Atkinson

    • The team is very caring, experienced and detailed and was clear about the  next steps and offered very helpful advice and suggestions

      Legal 500

    • Jan Atkinson has extensive experience in private client matters, which underpins her excellent skills in the contentious probate area. Plus she is strong on international matters

      Legal 500 2020 - Jan Atkinson

    • A small but formidable team, punching above its weight. Jan Atkinson is a seasoned pro. Approachable but no push-over

      Legal 500 2020 - Jan Atkinson

    • "They are an outstanding firm to work with. They are consistently impressive in their work."

      Chambers UK

    • "Elspeth Neilson is very reliable and practical."

      The Legal 500

    • "The team frequently deals with cross-border estates for high–net-worth individuals."

      The Legal 500

    • "The team were extremely professional in putting my needs first. There was a joined-up approach to catering for the client, and all lawyers involved were briefed and constructive."

      Chambers UK

    • The situation was handled by your extremely competent, efficient hands - I would not hesitate to recommend Osbornes to others.

      Wills, Probate and Disputed Estate Client

    • "Service prompt and effective. I have absolute confidence in Maggie."

      Wills, Probate & Disputed Estates Client

    • I am happy with the service that I got and would recommend you to other potential clients.

      Wills, Probate & Disputed Estates Client

    • I found Osbornes always very helpful and efficient.

      Wills, Probate & Disputed Estates Client

    • We are very pleased with the services of Osbornes. Highly professional and through with close attention to detail.

      Wills, Probate & Disputed Estates Client

    • I would highly recommend Jan Atkinson in any probate matter and Osbornes Solicitors in any other legal matters.

      Wills, Probate & Disputed Estates Client

    • Jan Atkinson is a very proficient lady whom I would highly recommend to anyone involved in probates.

      Wills, Probate & Disputed Estates Client

    • Thanks for all your work and explaining everything so clearly. For any legal matters in the future I would not hesitate in instructing Osbornes.

      Wills, Probate & Disputed Estates Client

    • We have found your service to date as the most informative we have come across.

      Wills, Probate & Disputed Estates Client

    • Osbornes Solicitors always responded promptly to any request for information I had.

      Wills, Probate & Disputed Estates Client

    • “Geoffrey’s affairs were dealt with just the right combination of friendliness and professionalism, which really helped.”

       

      Wills, Probate & Disputed Estates Client

    • Jan Atkinson is confident with a straightforward approach. Her practice covers both contentious and non-contentious matters, including wealth planning and estate administration.

      Chambers UK

    • I would like to thank everyone in my case for the excellent job!

      Wills, Probate & Disputed Estates client

    Accreditations

    • Times best law firms 2023
    • legal 500 leading firm

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      Online Probate – When are Solicitors required?

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