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Legal and financial matters

When someone dies, there will probably be a number of legal or financial matters to deal with. You may wish to do this yourself or you may need the help of a Solicitor or a Financial Adviser. The information on this section of the website aims to help you decide the best way forward.

Legal advice

If you have difficulty dealing with the deceased's property, possessions or guardianship of children, you should get advice from a solicitor or the Citizens Advice CAB External Hyperlink. Advice and leaflets about legal advice are also available in public libraries, police stations and courts. They will also hold a list of local solicitors who take legal aid cases and if they specialise in probate work. You can also see information online at Yellow Pages Scoot and the Legal Services Commission website External Hyperlink. Many solicitors are prepared to offer up to half an hour legal advice for free, or a small fee, for an initial consultation to discuss your situation.

What is probate and do you need it?

A probate is a piece of paper issued by the Probate Registry confirming that a person (an executor) has the right to 'wind up' an estate – a house, money and savings – of the person who has died. The "executor" is the person chosen in the Will to sort out the estate and make sure it goes to the people named in it.

Do you have to have probate?

It depends on the size of the estate. If it is very small, no probate may be needed.

How do you get probate?

You must fill in a form. If the estate is small, the form does not have to give full details of it. The important form is the "Executors Oath" as it must be sworn as true. For more information on probate, including application forms, fees etc, visit the website External Hyperlink.

Do you have to work with a solicitor?

No. You can apply direct to the Probate Registry yourself.  However, it helps to involve a Solicitor. Most of them offer probate services and their fees depend upon the amount of work and the size of the estate.


For a Will to be valid, it must be:

Although it will be legally valid even if it is not dated, it is advisable to include the date on which it is signed. As soon as it is signed and witnessed, it is complete.

What if there is no Will?

Speak to a Solicitor - it is safer in the long run because various laws affect who is entitled to wind up the estate and receive any money. You can see more information about making a will at External Hyperlink.


If the person who died was paying tax on income from investments, was self-employed or was an employee, you must tell HM Revenue & Customs about the death as soon as possible. This will enable his/her tax affairs to be settled. Depending on circumstances, this may involve paying more tax or claiming a repayment. The particular tax office to contact will depend on the deceased's circumstances. For instance:

HM Revenue & Customs leaflet IR45, (what to do about tax when someone dies) gives more information. You can get a copy of the form or more information from HM Revenue & Customs External Hyperlink.

Independent financial advice

You can get professional financial advice from a variety of people:

Help for widows and widowers

If your husband or wife dies, you may be able to claim benefits to help with costs at home:

Useful Links External Hyperlink - Resource for finding solicitors in Fareham for legal support and advice.


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