How we can support you through the estate administration process
We understand that dealing with the death of a loved one can be a stressful and emotional experience. This is why we want to support our clients at their time of need by offering them access to professional services that can reduce the burden on them at this difficult time.
One task that you may need to consider is administering the estate of the person who has passed away. This can be a complex and time consuming legal process that involves dealing with all of the assets and liabilities associated with the estate. This could include property, stocks, shares, bank accounts and other personal belongings that need to be distributed in line with the Will.
There is often a significant amount of paperwork that needs to be completed, not to mention liaising with various third parties and calculating the tax that is payable on the estate. Some clients choose to undertake the estate administration themselves but others prefer to appoint a specialist firm to do the hard work for them.
We recommend Kings Court Trust, one of the UK’s leading estate administration specialists. They have helped over 7,000 families deal with the estates of their loved ones, offering a range of services to reduce the stress and work involved.
Kings Court Trust offers a number of services that you can take advantage of:
• Free, impartial and practical advice on what to do when someone dies so that you can understand your options and make an informed decision with confidence
• A comprehensive estate administration service that will remove the stress, effort and legal liability of dealing with a potentially complicated process yourself
• A fixed fee service so that you know exactly what you will pay up front and don’t have the uncertainty of hourly rates or contingency fees to consider
• Regular updates on how the estate is being managed and the opportunity to track progress at any time thanks to Insight, our exclusive online monitoring system
• You will be allocated a dedicated personal estate adviser and can contact them directly by phone or email – no call centre queues or being passed from person to person when you need to speak to someone about your case
What is Probate?
The legal authority to administer the estate. A Grant of Probate is an order of the Court giving one or more people the legal authority to administer the estate of the deceased in order to distribute it correctly to the beneficiaries.
Who can apply for the Grant of Probate?
The people who have the right to apply for a Grant of Probate are the Personal Representatives (PRs) of the estate. PRs are either the Executors named in the Will or the next of kin following the Rules of Intestacy if there is no Will. There are different types of Grant depending on the circumstances and who is to deal with the estate.
What are the two main types of Grants:
- The Grant of Probate, where there is a Will
- Letters of Administration, in situations where there is no Will
The people named in the Grant of Representation are legally responsible and ultimately liable for the administration of the estate of the deceased. The decision about who is named on the Grant of Representation is a very important one because it carries this responsibility.
What is an executor or administrator (personal representative)?
A Personal Representative or PR is the person who is charged with dealing with the possessions of the deceased. These possessions are collectively known as the Estate. The PR has the legal authority and responsibility to administer the estate and is ultimately liable for any mistakes made.
If a Will has been made the PR is known as an Executor; if there is no Will then the PR is known as an Administrator.
Responsibilities and liabilities as a personal representative?
An Executor (‘a Personal Representative’) can be held personally financially liable for any loss resulting from a breach of their duty – even if the mistake is made in good faith.
This will include:
- Failure to pay the debts and liabilities of the deceased
- Failure to settle the affairs of the deceased relating to: Inheritance Tax, Income Tax and Capital Gains Tax
- Failure to settle any claim against the estate
- Failure to identify and correctly distribute assets to the beneficiaries (including those initially not known about)
Disappointed beneficiaries have up to 6 months to make a claim after issuing the Grant of Probate while creditors’ owed money by the deceased can potentially make a claim against the personal representative for up to 12 years after the death.
Executors are responsible for administering the property and possessions of the deceased in line with their wishes and the law.
The Executors are responsible for everything they do, or fail to do, in relation to the estate. This responsibility lasts for the duration of the Administration of the estate and any ongoing Trust created.
The precise duties fall under the following three areas:
- Applying to and attending at Court to apply for Grant of Representation. If there is a Will, this is known as the Grant of Probate, if there isn’t a Will, then this is known as Letters of Administration
- Identifying and dealing with any claims against the estate
- Completion and submission of Inheritance Tax returns and payment of any Inheritance Tax
- Completion of any necessary Income and Capital Gains Tax returns and payment of any outstanding tax
- Notification and correspondence with all relevant organisations in order to gather all assets and pay all debts and charges on the estate
- Search for unclaimed or missing assets
- Prepare and distribute estate accounts to interested parties
- Settling all debts and liabilities
- Correctly distributing the residue of the estate to the beneficiaries
Can I refuse?
Anyone named as Executor can decide not to administer the estate of the deceased. By renouncing their entitlement they are not named on the Grant of Probate. Anyone named as Executor can renounce their role including any professional organisations included in the Will.
You can then appoint a new professional legal organisation to act on your behalf.
You do not need to use the solicitor who drew up the Will of the deceased.