Estate Administration in a Covid-19 World – We are here to help you.

Have you lost a loved one recently, be it Covid, old age or other causes, and are not sure what you need to do next?  Natalie Smith at Frank Smith and Co Solicitors is here to help and is happy to answer your questions if you would like to get in touch. 

Losing someone close to you is hard and I always aim to provide sensitive, supportive advice at a time when you may not wish to deal with things yourself, as well as getting things progressed efficiently to reduce stress for everyone involved.

The landscape for probate and estate administration has changed substantially over the last year, most prominent are the significant delays in the probate registry dealing with applications.  A normal application for a grant of probate, pre-early 2019, would usually be returned within 14 days (and often within a week in my experience).  At the time of writing, the probate registry is quoting a turnaround time of 8 weeks for an application to be dealt with, on top of an IHT 400 having had to be submitted to HMRC at least 14 working days before that.  However, many practitioners, including myself, have applications that have been in the system for 4 months and still counting so there are no guarantees on these timescales.

The critical message to be taken from this is that if you believe that the deceased’s estate will require a Grant of Probate, and particularly if time is of the essence such as with a property sale, then the personal representatives should be getting their applications in as quickly as they can.  If you are not sure whether the estate will require a grant of probate or grant of administration, I am always happy to discuss this with the personal representatives of the estate so please do give me a call.

There are however positives as a result of the pandemic which have brought in some improvements which may hopefully be here to stay.  For example, the registration of a death used to have to be done in person at the registry office local to where the person lived. This can now take place over the phone giving much more flexibility.  Many companies and banks are also now accepting certified online copies of documents to reduce the amount of paperwork passing between offices.

I am pleased to be able to offer a varying level of service to the personal representatives of an estate in order to assist them during the administration period.  This can range from me providing simple advice to the personal representatives throughout the administration, with them conducting the majority of the paperwork themselves, through to the ‘bells and whistles’ service where I simply take all of the paperwork off the personal representatives hands and deal with everything on their behalf.  This advice is very much tailored to each individual estate.  As a firm we do not charge a percentage fee based on the value of an estate and all work is carried out on a time spent basis, but fixed fees can be agreed for application only instructions.

Ultimately by instructing a solicitor at the earliest opportunity after someone has died it is likely that the beneficiaries of the estate will receive their inheritance quicker.

If you have any questions do contact me directly:

Office:  01242 801748
Mobile: 07534660982




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