What is Probate? The legal process when someone dies

Brighton Probate Solicitors

Probate is the legal process followed when someone dies. Trying to understand why and if probate is required, how probate works in the UK, how to apply for probate, and what probate means can be an added stress at an already difficult time.

Probate and administration matters vary considerably in their complexity. Whatever the size of the estate, from a few hundred pounds to many millions, we can deal with it, and help Executors comply with legal obligations.

If someone has died and you need immediate help with probate call us on 01273 604 123 or email us at enquire@bbc-law.co.uk.


Do I Need a Solicitor for Probate? Free Complete Guide

As expert probate solicitors, we talk to many families who are coping with the loss of a loved one at the same time as trying to deal with the legal process of probate. When many of our clients first call us, they often ask if they really need a solicitor for probate.

Our free guide will help you:

  • Understand probate
  • Learn the legal jargon around probate
  • Gain a better understanding of the probate process
  • Have a full understanding of whether you can deal with a probate, or if you will need help from a solicitor

Enter your name and email address into the box below to be sent your free probate guide.


What is a Grant of Probate?

A Grant of Probate gives the Executors of the Will the authority to deal with assets such as bank accounts, shares, and property.

If the deceased did not leave a Will behind, or if the Will is disputed, probates can become complex and problems can arise.

What is an Executor?

An Executor is the person or people named in a Will to deal with the estate.

They must:

  • calculate how much the estate is worth
  • apply to the Probate Registry for a Grant of Probate
  • if the estate is large enough, pay Inheritance Tax before they receive the Grant
  • deal with the assets, closing accounts, transferring assets, dealing with property, and pay off debts
  • distribute the remaining assets in accordance with the Will

Is a Grant of Probate always required?

A Grant of Probate is not always necessary. There are many different factors, but a Grant of Probate will usually be required if the deceased:

  • had property in their sole name or as tenants in common
  • had savings of more than £15,000 and shares in their sole name worth over £5000
  • left a valid Will – if not, a Grant of Letters of Administration will be required instead

Do I need to use a solicitor for Probate?

We often hear from clients who have underestimated the amount of work involved with probate, and need our help. It is up to the Executor(s) to decide if they have the time and patience to deal with a process that is notoriously frustrating, in addition to the financial responsibility.

If you manage a probate yourself, you will be financially responsible for any errors you make. HMRC is taking an increasingly hard line against errors in forms which cover inheritance tax. If you make a mistake, the penalties can be harsh.

The Executor will be expected to settle any unpaid debts and may find themselves faced with reams of paperwork and legal jargon at a time where they are trying to cope with grief.

Many people decide to save time, money, and stress by employing a probate solicitor to do the complex work for them.

Who We Are

Burt Brill & Cardens Probate Solicitors have been serving the people of Sussex and beyond for over 125 years. Sir Herbert Carden founded our Firm in the heart of Brighton in 1893. In 2020, we provide legal services to clients all over the world, but are proud to still be based at number 30 Old Steyne, a stone’s throw away from the famous Brighton Pier. We take great pride in our reputation, which comes not only from a century of providing first-rate legal services, but from the outstanding staff that look after our clients today. We pride ourselves on our integrity, expertise, and client focus.

What Our Clients Say About Us

“Burt Brill(iant) & Cardens…fantastic from start to finish, extremely professional, knowledgeable, competent and reassuring. We couldn’t have wished for a better service.”

“ From initial meeting to the end of the case Amelia been fantastic. She was very organised, knowledgeable and very professional at every step. I have been informed about everything and received regular updates. Each time I visit the office everyone was very helpful and had smiles on their faces.”

“Thank you both very much indeed for your diligence and hard work…I cannot fault your responsiveness, consideration and conscientiousness”

“I was so delighted with Burt Brill & Cardens…superb, experienced, efficient but with a human touch. They dealt with a sensitive issue giving excellent service. Thank you”

Speak to our Probate Solicitors today

With over 125 years’ experience in looking after generations of families, we have an expert understanding of the things you need to do when someone dies, and the support that our clients need.

To talk to us about a probate, call us now on 01273 604 123 or email us at enquire@bbc-law.co.uk