Probate & Deceased Estate Administration

When someone dies, it is necessary for their “Estate” to be dealt with by those nearest to them. A person’s Estate is made up of the money, property and any possessions they have at the time of their death and may include assets disposed of before their death. The process of administering the Estate involves establishing the value of the Estate, completing HM Revenue & Customs and Probate Registry paperwork, paying any Inheritance Tax due, obtaining a Grant of Representation, collecting in the assets and any money which is owed, settling any debts due (including outstanding taxes) and dividing the Estate amongst the respective beneficiaries (including charities) under the terms of the Will or Intestacy Rules.

All assets (including property) in an Estate will remain frozen until the Probate Registry gives the authority to the Executor(s) named in the deceased’s Will or the deceased's Personal Representatives to deal with the assets. That authority is contained in a document known as a Grant of Representation-specifically where there is a Will it is a Grant of Probate. If there is no Will, then the deceased is said to have died intestate and it usually falls automatically to the nearest member of the deceased’s family to act on behalf of the Estate as the Administrator and that person will need to apply to the Court for the necessary authority to deal with the assets in the Estate.

If there is a Will, the Estate will pass to the people named in the Will. If there is no Will, the more complicated Rules of Intestacy will apply.

Whether you are an Executor or an Administrator, dealing with someone’s Estate and affairs can be stressful and difficult even at the best of times. You may also find yourself liable to unknown beneficiaries, charities and HM Revenue & Customs if the Estate is not properly wound up.

We are able to assist with obtaining a Grant of Representation and the administration of the Estate on your behalf. We make enquiries and obtain valuations to determine the size of an Estate for Probate and Inheritance Tax purposes. We also prepare the necessary Inheritance Tax Return and prepare and lodge the application for the Grant of Representation with the Court. On receipt of the Grant, we collect monies and assets due to the Estate, settle any outstanding debts and taxes and distribute the Estate according to the Will or the Intestacy Rules.

We will arrange the transfer or sale of any shares and our Property team can handle the sale or transfer of a house or land owned by the deceased.

Where appropriate we will advise on any Deed of Variation or Deed of Family Arrangement by which a beneficiary’s entitlement under a Will or Intestacy may be varied. We will finalise the Estate, prepare final accounts and close the matter on your behalf to ensure it is dealt with efficiently and completely.

We recommend the Law Society’s guide to Probate.

If you would like to know more please contact Robert Goodchild or Katharine Palmer directly to make an appointment for an initial free, no obligation consultation.