When you have suffered a bereavement, dealing with the estate of a loved one can be a distressing and daunting task. Whilst it is a mark of respect to have been appointed as an Executor of somebody’s estate, it brings with it a great deal of responsibility and a risk of personal financial liability if problems arise.
In order to administer an estate, it is often necessary to obtain a Grant of Representation. The two most common types are:
1. Grant of Probate (where the deceased died testate i.e. leaving a Will)
2. Grant of Letters of Administration (where the deceased died intestate i.e. without leaving a Will)
However, if the estate is relatively small or if all of the deceased’s assets were held jointly with another person then it may not be necessary to obtain a Grant of Representation.
It is the responsibility of the Personal Representative (called an Executor if there is a Will, or an Administrator if there is not) to administer the deceased’s estate correctly. A Personal Representative must decide whether to take on the responsibility of personally administering the estate or whether to instruct a professional advisor such as Hughes Jenkins solicitors to help alleviate the burden.
The main duties of a Personal Representative are as follows:
1. identify and value the deceased’s assets e.g. property, shares etc.
2. identify debts and possible claims against the estate
3. prepare the relevant tax account for HMRC and calculate whether any Inheritance Tax is due on the estate
4. pay any Inheritance Tax due on the estate (within a certain time period)
5. make the application to the Probate Registry for the Grant of Representation
6. gather in funds
7. advertise for creditors
8. protect the estate against potential claims
9. transfer or sell property, shares etc bearing Capital Gains Tax in mind
10. pay any outstanding liabilities and finalise the tax affairs of the deceased
11. prepare the Estate Accounts
12. distribute the estate in accordance with the terms of the Will or Intestacy Rules.
Personal Representatives must act carefully as they may be personally liable for any loss to the estate which occurs as a result of their actions or decisions. That is why it is always advisable to instruct a solicitor to handle or assist with the administration of the estate.
Our specialist Solicitors can alleviate your burden. We have many years of experience in the administration of estates and will ensure that the administration process is dealt with smoothly, efficiently and always in a sensitive manner.
If you are faced with a recent bereavement and would like assistance with the administration of an estate or if you simply need assistance with extracting the Grant of Representation, please call 01685 886 611 or contact us online to book a free consultation. We offer a home visit service for our elderly clients who are unable to easily attend our office, as well as hospital visits if required.