Wills and probate solicitors in Birmingham
Our specialist solicitors are here to help ensure your wishes are met. With offices right across Birmingham and the West Midlands, friendly support and advice is right on your doorstep.
What should you consider when making a will?
Making a will is the best way to protect your loved ones no matter what your age. Our wills and probate solicitors in Birmingham are highly experienced in preparing wills and can assistwith writing a will and applying for probate. We offer a comprehensive service that is efficient and professional yet delivered with care and sensitivity.
- Choose a solicitor to draw up your will. Writing a will without a solicitor can be done, but it is risky. If you make a mistake your will could be invalid or lead to disputes.
- Choose your executors carefully. It is an executor’s role to distribute your estate (your property, assets and possessions). It is a responsible role thatmust be carried out in accordance with your wishes and the law.
- Appoint guardians for children. If you have children under 18 and they lose both parents, the court will decide who will be their legal guardian unless you specify somebody in your will.
- Consider your trustees carefully. If you set up a trust in your will or if one of your beneficiaries is a child, you will need to appoint people you trust implicitly to manage and invest money on their behalf.
- Leave valuable items to specific beneficiaries. If you have items of sentimental or monetary value leave them to named loved ones to save disagreements.
- Leave a residual legacy. This is what is left of your estate when all gifts have been shared out and debts and taxes have been paid. Leaving a residual legacy is a way of dividing the rest of your estate between the people and/or causes you care about.
- Minimise inheritance tax. A professionally drafted will can assist with tax planning and reduce the inheritance tax your loved ones pay. Our specialist wills and probate solicitors can advise you.
- Make sure your will is witnessed. For your will to be legal you must sign it in front of two independent witnesses who are not beneficiaries. Wills can currently be witnessed remotely if witnessing in person is not possible.
- Store your will safely. At Davisons we offer a will storage service, giving you the peace of mind that your will is protected from loss or damage.
Contesting a will
If you believe a will does not reflect the true wishes of the person who has made it, or you think mistakes were made during probate, you may have grounds to contest. We have solicitors who provide specialist advice in contentious probate matters.
Applying for probate
If you are an executor, you need to determine whether you need a grant of probate to deal with all aspects of the estate. If the person who has died owned a house or land, or if an institution such as a bank will not allow the executor access to accounts without a grant of probate, an application will need to be made. If the estate is modest in value, an application may not be necessary.
Following a successful application, the executor receives a grant of probate which is the document that legally entitles them to manage the estate.
Whether or not probate is required, an executor is legally responsible for making sure the estate administration is carried out correctly, in accordance with the will and with the law. If there are mistakes, they may be held responsible and personally liable for any financial loss to the beneficiaries.
If you are an executor, our specialist probate team can take some of the burden of responsibility from you by making sure you carry out your duties correctly.
After a grant of probate is received
Once an executor has received a grant of probate they must gather in assets, pay all debts and taxes and contact all beneficiaries and creditors. They must then, prepare final accounts and distribute assets in accordance with the will.
Dealing with complex paperwork and contacting the people and organisations involved can be difficult and time consuming. If you are an executor who needs help administrating an estate, our solicitors can guide you through the process.
How can our solicitors help you
If you are considering writing a will or you need expert advice about applying for probate, our friendly family law solicitors can offer you specialist legal advice.