Should I Deal With the Estate of a Loved One or Seek Advice from a Probate Solicitor?

It can be difficult trying to cope with events following the death of a loved one – but the reality is that someone needs to take care of the financial affairs and probate of the deceased person.

Professional legal advice at the outset of a probate matter can be invaluable and a solicitor will be able to advise you as to the procedure and process specifically in relation to the estate in question.

It is possible to obtain a Grant of Probate and administer a deceased person’s estate without the assistance of a solicitor but this is generally not advisable due to various legal formalities which need to be followed to ensure the estate is dealt with and administered correctly. Without the help of a solicitor there is a real risk that mistakes can be made which can cause more problems for the family at what is already an upsetting and distressing time. There are other factors to consider also before deciding to deal with the estate of a loved one personally:

  • Time? Depending on the assets/liabilities and other factors in the estate, dealing with the administration of the same can take months, and in some cases years. Consideration needs to be given as to whether you can cope with the additional demand on your time.
  • Culpability? As mentioned there are a number of legal formalities which need to be adhered to. Private client solicitors practice in this specific area and can deal with all aspects of the matter for you and provide updates as to how the matter is progressing at intervals as well as ensuring the legal formalities are adhered to. This removes the worry and responsibility from you as an individual and can provide peace of mind.
  • Acrimony? Following the death of a family member often emotions can run high and this can result in family dispute. This can relate to how the assets of the estate are split, whether assets should be sold quickly for a cheap price or held onto for a higher price and so on. By using a professional it ensures someone independent deals with matters and can help alleviate this type of conflict.
  • Complicated estates? Not all estates is the same as another – taxable estates, estates including off shore assets and insolvent estates can all cause significant complication. Before dealing with this type of matter you must consider whether you are confident that you are able to deal with the same correctly without professional advice.

Each person’s circumstances will be different and it can be difficult to say how long an estate can take to deal with from the outset. Typical problems include:

  • Sorting through reams of old financial paperwork
  • Searching for evidence of lifetime gifts made by the deceased which may have tax implications
  • Difficulties in realising certain assets or settling tax bills for a variety of reasons
  • Difficulty tracing beneficiaries and dealing with minor beneficiaries
  • Foreign assets and property
  • Agricultural and business property with tax planning implications


Charges for dealing with a deceased estate understandably vary for the above reasons and are very much dependent on the size and complexity of the estate. However, price is not the only issue. A good probate solicitor can help you through an emotional and difficult time and relieve some of the burden with assistance in administering the estate.

If you require advice in relation to the death of a family member or an estate matter please contact Kirsty McNulty – Wills, Probate, Tax & Trusts for a free no obligation consultation on 0800 975 2463 or use our quick contact form.

Kirsty McNulty

About Kirsty McNulty

Kirsty McNulty is a Solicitor within the Wills, Probate, Tax and Trust department at Forbes Solicitors. Kirsty’s blogs cover her specialisms of drafting wills and trust Wills, Lasting Powers of Attorney, various Trusts such as PI trusts and Asset Protection Trusts, Court of Protection applications and all other areas of private client law. Kirsty specialises in assisting elderly and vulnerable client’s and is a fully accredited member of Solicitors for the Elderly.
This entry was posted in Wills, Tax, Trusts and Probate.