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Probate Solicitors in Belfast 

Expert probate solicitors in Northern Ireland

Wills & Probate Solicitors in Belfast, Northern Ireland 

Expert probate solicitors in Northern Ireland 

Get expert support through probate in Northern Ireland with our dedicated team of estate planning solicitors.

Probate refers to the process of handling a deceased person’s Will and administering their estate after they have passed away. This includes paying inheritance tax and distributing the assets between the beneficiaries.  

The associated processes can be complicated with a number of potential issues that can arise, which is why it’s essential to seek the help of expert probate solicitors. 

On obtaining a Grant of Probate in Northern Ireland, the executor is given permission to deal with the deceased’s estate as per the instructions in their Will. It is the duty of the Will executor to make a probate application through the Principal Registry of the Family Division in Belfast. 

Have a question about probate or about contesting a will in Northern Ireland? Please read our probate FAQS or get in touch to speak to a member of our probate solicitors Belfast team. 

We are here to provide advice tailored to your specific needs. Contact us now on 028 90 36 5595 

Our probate solicitors can provide advice on the legal process associated with probate of a will:

         – Grant of Probate 

         – Grant of Letters of Administration 

         – Administering an estate 

         – Contentious probate 

Grant of Probate in Northern Ireland

If the deceased’s assets are in excess of £5,000 and they have left a valid Will behind, the Will executor will need to apply for a Grant of Probate. The grant provides them with the necessary permission to carry out the probate process. 

Where there is no Will, a next of kin must apply for a Grant of Letters of Administration, which allows them to administer the estate according to intestacy rules. 

Our expert probate solicitors in Belfast have much experience assisting clients to apply for a Grant of Probate or a Grant of Letters of Administration. We can help to streamline the procedure, answer all of your questions and avoid any issues that might arise. 

To access support today, please contact our probate specialists at SG Murphy. 

Grant of Letters of Administration 

If there is no Will, you will instead need to apply for a Grant of Letters of Administration. This gives you the same rights and obligations to deal with the estate of someone who has passed away as a Grant of Probate. 

Administering an estate 

As part of the probate process, the Will executor will need to identify the deceased’s assets and liabilities, in order to value the estate. It is then necessary to verify who will inherit from the deceased’s estate, obtaining the correct documents in order to transfer the assets to the chosen beneficiaries. 

Where there is no Will, the appropriate next of kin must administer the inheritance according to intestacy rules. These rules outline which individuals can inherit from the estate. 

Our specialist probate lawyers in Belfast can guide clients throughout the entire probate process or estate administration process, including: 

  • Gaining a full picture of the deceased’s assets and liabilities and then proceeding to value the estate 
  • Filling out an inheritance tax return, if appropriate, and then paying off the inheritance tax 
  • Paying any debts left on the estate 
  • Paying the beneficiaries according to the instructions in the Will or as per intestacy rules where there is no Will 

Our expert probate solicitors in Belfast can provide detailed support aligned to your circumstances. 

Contentious probate 

Contentious probate refers to a probate dispute, related to a deceased’s Will or estate, after they have passed away. 

For instance, it is commonplace for probate disputes to arise in the following circumstances: 

  • Disputes regarding the meaning of a Will  
  • Disputes where it is believed that there is a mistake in the Will 
  • Inheritance Act claims 
  • It is believed that the person making the Will did not have the capacity to do so 
  • Where disagreements arise between beneficiaries and executors 

Probate FAQs  

Who deals with wills & probate? 

The probate is dealt with by the Will executor named in the deceased’s Will.  

Where there is no Will the person’s estate must be administered according to intestacy rules. An appropriate next of kin will need to make an application to the Probate Registry in order to obtain a Grant of Letters of Administration. 

How long does probate take in Northern Ireland? 

The probate process in Northern Ireland takes around 9-12 months on average. Where a Probate is uncomplicated, the process should take approximately 6 months. If the estate is larger and more complex, it could take up to 12 months to settle wills and probate cases in the high court of Northern Ireland. 

Is it quicker to use probate solicitors in Belfast? 

Yes, working with specialist wills and probate solicitors can streamline the probate process, which can otherwise be time-consuming.  

Probate solicitors in Northern Ireland provide the best possible advice in various ways throughout the probate application process made to the Probate office in Belfast, such as: 

       – Applying for a Grant of probate 

       – Estate valuation assistance 

      – Guidance to distribute the estate between the appropriate beneficiaries and or charities as per the instructions in a valid Will 

       – Legal help to resolve contentious probate issues and advice on probate tax payable.

Does every Will have to go to probate? 

No, not every Will goes through a probate process. However, the majority of Wills do go through this process. 

Occasions where you will not need a probate might include, where the property and bank accounts of the deceased were all joint accounts and property, shared with a surviving spouse or civil partner. 

Alternatively, where the deceased’s estate is made up entirely of personal belongings and cash or the estate is particularly small, for instance, less than £5,000. Your probate solicitor will be able to guide you in this matter.

How long does probate take if there is a Will? 

It largely depends on the complexity of the estate, the contents of the Will and whether or not any disputes arise as a result of the probate process. 

Generally speaking, the probate process should take somewhere between 6 months and one year if there is a Will.  

If you have a Will do you need probate? 

Where there is a Will, the majority of the time you will need a probate. There are some circumstances whereby a Will may not need to go through a probate process. For example, if the deceased had savings only.  

If the deceased had joint money or shares with other people, these assets are transferred to the surviving owner. Where the deceased owned a joint property, their share is also automatically transferred to the surviving owner. 

What is the threshold for probate? 

Where a person’s assets are £5,000 or more and they have a valid Will, the executor will generally need to carry out the probate process. 

If an individual’s assets are in excess of £5,000, the associated financial companies will usually not release the deceased’s assets and funds unless the appropriate person has obtained a Letter of Administration or a Grant of Probate as required. 

In some circumstances the probate threshold may be different depending on the financial company that holds the funds and so it is essential to contact the relevant parties.  

Our solicitors at SG Murphy can offer support throughout the entire procedure. 

What is the threshold for inheritance tax in Northern Ireland? 

In Northern Ireland, an estate will not be liable to pay inheritance tax if the estate in question is worth less than £325,000. 

Where a person’s estate is likely to exceed the threshold, it is advisable that the individual considers an inheritance tax planning strategy, to ensure that their family members receive the full benefit of their estate when they have passed away. 

Speak to SG Murphy Probate Solicitors Belfast

To discuss your needs with our probate specialist solicitors, please contact us now on 028 90 36 5595 or by email at law@sgmurphysolicitors.com 

We are here to help. Contact wills and probate solicitors in Belfast now on 028 90 36 5595