Q. My uncle owned his own business but has passed away suddenly and there is no one to deal with his financial and business affairs. My husband and I would like would like to settle his affairs and it has been suggested that a probate specialist can help us. What is a probate specialist and how can one help us?
Probate is the legal process that is required to appoint someone to distribute the assets of someone who has died. A probate specialist is an expert in all aspects of this process.
Probate specialists are engaged to act on behalf of the family of the deceased and they can provide all of the help and assistance families require to settle the affairs of a loved one (according to their will, if there is one, or according to the rules of intestacy if no will exists).
The responsibility for distributing someone’s estate should not be undertaken lightly. As a firm of Probate Specialists we know all too well how complex these matters can be. The process can be time consuming and, at times, frustrating. Furthermore, if there are assets held overseas then these need to be recovered. Language difficulties and foreign judicial systems can make assets held overseas particularly challenging to recover. The problem is compounded further, by the fact that that the probate process must be undertaken soon after the loved one has passed away which is often not the best time for so many families to undertake such a process.
Taking these factors into account it is not surprising that so many people turn to trusted professionals to undertake this important function, on their behalf. This is where a firm of probate specialists can help.
However, the services provided by probate specialists do differ. So, if you decide to look for assistance from a probate specialist for the administration of all, or part, of your uncle’s estate here are some of the things you should ask firms of probate specialists before you engage them:-
Do you provide probate services on a fixed fee basis? – Some probate specialists charge on a ‘per task’ basis. This means that you pay one sum for the task, regardless of how long it takes to complete. If they do, you will know from the beginning how much probate is going to cost and there will be no nasty surprises when you receive the final bill;
Do you recover your fees from the proceeds of the deceased’s estate? – This service means that you do not have to pay the probate specialist until proceeds of the deceased’s Estate have been recovered;
Is the firm a member of a recognised professional body? – For security and peace of mind we would suggest that the probate specialists you choose should be a regulated member of a recognised professional body;
Are their consultants qualified to undertake this important work? – We suggest that probate consultants should be educated to at least law degree level;
Can they deal with UK and overseas probate cases? – If the deceased lived or died overseas it may be necessary to recover assets held abroad;
Do they explicitly demonstrate their commitment to customer care? – Customer care is such an important element so it is imperative that they can demonstrate their commitment to providing customer centred services such as free phone telephone lines, convenient opening hours, including evening and weekend opening and the option of home consultation visits at no additional cost;