After a death it is important to those who are left behind that the estate is administered with sympathy as well as with efficiency.
When someone close to you dies somebody has to deal with their “estate”. A person’s estate is considered to be made up of the money, property and any possessions they had at the time of their death. The process ‘Probate’ means collecting any money that they are owed, settling any debts due (including outstanding taxes) and dividing the estate amongst the respective beneficiaries.
This consists of establishing what the assets and liabilities of the estate are, obtaining a Grant of Probate (or Letters of Administration in the case of intestacy where there is no will) to authorise the executors or administrators to deal with the estate.
All assets (including property) in an estate will remain frozen, until the Probate Registry gives the authority (via a document know as a Grant of Representation) to the individual(s) nominated in your Will, the “Executor”.
If you have no Will, then it is up to the most appropriate member of the family member to act on behalf of the estate.
If there is a Will the estate will pass to the people named in the Will. If there is no Will certain rules known as the Rules of Intestacy will apply.
Whether you are an Executor or the next of kin, we can provide practical guidance to help you deal with the administration of someone’s estate. We can help you determine the size of an estate for Probate and Inheritance Tax purposes. We can prepare an application for the Grant of Representation on your behalf and lodge the required forms with the relevant organisations to collect monies due to the estate and settle any outstanding debts.
We can arrange the transfer or sale of any shares and work with our residential property team to handle the sale of any property or land owned by the deceased.
In certain circumstances it may be possible for us to reduce the amount of Inheritance Tax payable. In order to access the current Inheritance Tax rates please follow the link to the HMRC website.
In short, we can deal with the whole transaction from start to finish. All you need to do is contact us. As with our other services we will provide you with full details of our costs at the outset.
Are you thinking about applying for a Grant of Probate yourself? Some executors decide to apply for probate themselves. You should not undertake this task lightly, as some areas are complex and complications can arise, in particular:-
- When non-solicitor executors contact banks, the banks may not respond, causing significant delay as the clients may not be aware of the correct details to request.
- Court fees for applying for a Grant of Probate personally are higher than charged to a solicitor to cover the Court’s additional administrative costs.
- The Inland Revenue forms are complicated and, unless the correct details are inserted, the document can be rejected by the Probate Registry and at worst prompt an Inland Revenue enquiry.
- If inheritance tax is due, the rules are complex and it may be that the inheritance tax is calculated incorrectly and possibly overpaid.
- If there are delays in obtaining probate, additional inheritance tax charges may be due in the form of interest.
- Executors acting personally without a solicitor are not entitled to charge. However, if a solicitor is instructed to administer the estate, the legal costs are an allowable deduction.
In all the circumstances, we strongly advise that you use Field Overell to act for you in the administration of the estate without attempting to deal with the matter yourself.
As a consequence of this:-
- This will avoid family disputes at a difficult time when emotions can be high.
- We are insured and of course Law Society approved. If you carry out the work yourself you will not have the availability of insurance cover in the event that you make an error and an incorrect distribution of the estate.
For further information please contact Lorna Payne on 01926 422 101 or visit our Contact Us page.
Lorna Payne is a member of the Society of Trust & Estate Practitioners (known as STEP). STEP is the worldwide professional association for practitioners dealing with family inheritance and succession planning. STEP helps to improve public understanding of the issues which families face in this area and promote education and high professional standards among its members. For further information visit www.step.org