Probate is the term used for the process that is followed when a person has died, and their estate requires distribution. This usually means clearing the deceased’s debts and distributing their remaining assets as per their wishes.

Probate is also a term that is used for the process of obtaining permission from the relevant authorities to deal with a deceased’s estate. This is only the case when the deceased has made a will. Where they do not have a will, a grant of administration must be applied for instead.

The person dealing with a deceased’s estate is known as an executor. It is important that an executor has obtained the relevant permission to deal with the deceased’s estate. This is because having the relevant permission means the executor is held accountable in case there are any mistakes made in the distribution of the deceased’s estate. Their details are also recorded by the relevant authorities.

An executor is not obliged to deal with a deceased’s estate personally if they do not wish to. This is understandable especially if they are busy and the deceased’s will was complex. In such cases, an executor is entitled to instruct a firm of solicitors to carry out the deceased’s will on their behalf.

A solicitor will charge fees for performing an executor’s duties. Some solicitors may agree to charge a fixed fee if the will is relatively straightforward. Others may charge their hourly rate, which will vary from region to region, firm to firm and from solicitor to solicitor.

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