Wills and Probate

Get in Touch for Expert Wills & Probate Advice

One of the most important areas of personal law that we handle sensitively but practically for you and your family is the drawing up of wills and assisting with the legal responsibilities surrounding the death of a loved one.

Our highly experienced, approachable solicitors are available in Bath, Bristol and the surrounding area to ensure your wishes are carried out after you die, or to assist you in dealing with winding up the estate of a deceased family member, whether he or she has died with or without a will in place.

Why You Need a Will

There are so many people who believe they don’t need a will because they have little of value to leave when they die. A will though is not just about distributing assets or money after death – it covers such important matters as care for your dependents, and carrying out your funeral wishes.

Some of the main reasons why it is wise to make a properly drawn up will are:

  • If you die intestate (without a will) your estate will be subject to the complex laws of intestacy, which means neither you nor your family members will have control over how your next of kin are provided for, or how your personal items are shared out.
  • If you have a partner but are not married or in a civil partnership, without a will specifying your wishes for the care of your partner when you die, he or she could be left with nothing, and even forced out of the home you live in.
  • A will can set out your wishes in respect of who will have custody of your minor children if you die. The position of step-children, adopted children and foster children can also be specified in a will.
  • In a will you can enshrine your personal wishes such as who will take care of your pet, what type of funeral you wish to have, who can take over your property and business interests, and whether you want to leave a sum to charity.
  • Unfortunately, there are many cases where disputes about sharing out an estate arise between family members in the wake of a death. A clearly drafted will prevents this unpleasant situation.
  • A properly drawn up will can ensure that death taxes like Inheritance Tax and Capital Gains Tax on the estate is kept to a minimum.
  • As solicitors specialising in private client law we understand the pitfalls to avoid in drafting and documenting an efficient Will. Don’t risk leaving a legacy of problems and heart-break that may result from dying intestate, or indeed from making a home-made will or one incompetently drafted by a cheap will-writer.

Professional Assistance with Probate

Probate is the process of administering an estate and ensuring that all the legal requirements are met, culminating in the final distribution of the assets to the beneficiaries.

(Probate is not needed if the estate is valued at less than £10,000 and doesn’t include land or shares, and if the assets are jointly owned with a marriage or civil partner.)

If the deceased left a will it is necessary for the executors to obtain a grant of probate before proceeding to curate the assets, debts and expenses in the estate.

If there is no will the next of kin need to apply for a Grant of Letters of Administration before the estate can be distributed.

Being an executor or administrator of an estate is a stressful, time-consuming and complex process which is why most people prefer to work with an expert solicitor. Helen Starkie Solicitors handle the entire probate or administration of an estate competently, efficiently and empathetically, saving time and ensuring no mistakes are made.

We can undertake tasks such as making grant of probate or letters of administration applications; communicating with the beneficiaries; collecting the assets; and dealing with HMRC on tax matters, to name but a few of our services.

Let us help you with the Probate process.

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