Do you need a Solicitor to deal with Probate? Well, do you need a dentist to pull out an aching tooth? The answer is not always straightforward.

With the tooth, it will depend on several factors. Can the aching be stopped without pulling it out, perhaps by using a filling? Is pulling it out with a pair of pliers going to guarantee a clean extraction without too much blood? Do you really want to take the responsibility if you’ve never pulled out a tooth before?

Hopefully, you’re getting the gist of where we are going with this.

If the affairs of the person who has died are modest and very simple, there may not even be the need to apply for a grant of probate. If bank accounts and savings are held jointly with the deceased’s spouse, then they should pass automatically to the survivor.  But if the value is large – perhaps due to the matrimonial home – then not only will there perhaps need to be a grant of probate applied for, but there may be Inheritance Tax due.

This is not always obvious. If you own your home jointly with your partner, but are not married to them, even if it passes to them automatically on your death there may be tax due. There will need to be the voluminous Inheritance Tax Return to be completed for H.M. Revenue & Customs. Even accountants sometimes baulk at having to complete those, so a layman may well find the task daunting.

There are also some deductions which the Revenue do allow, which can reduce the tax paid. However, while these can be claimed, the Revenue does not tell you that you could have claimed them if you don’t do it – that really isn’t their job.

The fact is that the sensible thing to do is to get in touch with a specialist firm of probate solicitors and book a meeting before you try to do it all yourself. They will take you through the process – often without charge – will explain what has to be done, what can be avoided, and what you need to know, and they will explain to you the options: to do it all yourself, to instruct the solicitors to deal with the application for a grant of Probate, or if you’d like the peace of mind of knowing it has all been completed properly, to retain the services of solicitors like ours to do what they do best.

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