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PROBATE AND THE ADMINISTRATION OF ESTATES

We understand that the loss of a loved one is a difficult time but there are legal processes which need to be followed to administer someone’s estate as efficiently as possible. It depends on whether someone died with or without a Will and depends on the amount of money in their estate.

We can offer you detailed advice on these processes and assist you with the administration in a sympathetic and efficient manner.

We will have an initial meeting with you and give you an idea of the work involved to organize the estate. We will be clear about costs from the outset so that you are aware of the fees involved.

Is there a Will?

When a person dies leaving a Will, it is generally possible for those appointed as their executors to deal with the necessary arrangements for the estate administration in accordance with the wishes of the deceased.

When a person dies without leaving a Will, they are said to have died intestate. This means that there is a statutory order of persons who are entitled to deal with the estate administration and this order should usually be followed. That person will have limited power to deal with the estate unless they have received a document from the court called a Grant of Letters of Administration.

The law sets out who is to benefit from an intestate estate. There are, for example, limits placed on the amount that a surviving spouse can inherit, particularly if a couple have children. Also, unmarried partners are not included in the statutory list of beneficiaries. The limitations placed on administering an intestate estate can be severe and the outcome may not reflect the family’s wishes.

We can offer detailed advice on how best to administer an estate, with a Will or without a Will

How we can help

  • General advice

  • Funeral arrangements

  • Valuing the assets and liabilities of the deceased’s estate

  • Finalising the tax affairs of the deceased

  • Property clearance

  • Insurance on unoccupied property

  • Completion of inheritance tax account and payment of tax due

A great deal of information about the value of a deceased’s person’s estate can be required by HM Revenue & Customs. If a person has died leaving an estate on which inheritance tax is due, then a very detailed form must be completed. If there is no tax due there is a shorter tax form to fill in.

We can obtain the necessary valuations and complete the required tax form. We can also advise on how best to discharge any outstanding tax burden from the estate.

  • Application for Grant of Probate or Grant of Letters of Administration.

This is the formal application to the Probate Registry to obtain the relevant Grant. The Grant is the court document required by most financial institutions before they will release funds in the estate to a personal representative.

If there is a valid Will, the application will be for a Grant of Probate. If there isn’t a Will, the application will be for a Grant of Letters of Administration. If there is an inheritance tax liability, it will be necessary to obtain a clearance certificate from HM Revenue & Customs prior to making the application to the Probate Registry.

We can also provide advice and assist on

  • Gathering in of assets

  • Discharging debts/liabilities due from the estate

  • Finalising income tax position of the deceased

  • Locating missing beneficiaries

  • Distribution of estate according to the Will or intestacy rules

  • Preparation of estate accounts for personal representatives

We are also able to assist with ongoing work once the estate administration is concluded

  • Creating and administering trusts

  • Advice to beneficiaries on tax planning

  • Referral to an independent financial advisor

  • Advice to beneficiaries on the preparation of a new Will

  • Preparation of Deeds of Variation

Even if someone has died it may be possible to mitigate the inheritance tax payable on the estate by varying the terms of their Will with the consent of relevant beneficiaries. This must be done within 2 years of the death.

Contact us if you would like to talk to us about any aspect of probate or the administration of an estate.

Call 020 8299 0021 or email willsandprobate@glazerdelmar.com