Having to deal with a loved ones property and possessions when they die is an unpleasant and daunting prospect. This is often’made much worse because you are dealing with such matters at an extremely difficult and emotional time, We believe that we have the appropriate experience to ensure that families or those dealing with these tasks can turn to us with confidence. Whatever the circumstances of the deceased or their estate, we can ensure that matters are handled effectively and with sensitivity and understanding. The following information will explain just some of the matters and processes involved in dealing with an estate.
The first task will involve registering the death and making arrangements for the funeral. This will usually fall to the next of kin or the Personal Representatives to organise. The Registrar of Births and Deaths for the sub-district in which the death occurred must register the death. The address can be found in the telephone book under Registration of Births, Deaths and Marriages.
Who are the Personal Representatives?
The Personal Representatives (PRs) are the persons who deal with everything owned by the deceased. The PRs will more commonly be known as the Executors if they are named in the Will, or the Administrators if thereare no Executors named or there is no Will.
Checking for a Will
It will be necessary to find out if the deceased person left a Will. The Will should set out who the Executors are as well as including any details of what the deceased wanted to happen to his or her property, money and possessions. On occasion the Will may express the deceased’s wishes regarding funeral arrangements.
There will usually be some indication of whether the deceased left a Will and where the original Is kept. The Will could be in safe custody with the deceased’s solicitor or the deceased’s bank. Occasionally it may be in the possession of the deceased’s family or even stored at home.
Identifying the Assets
The PRs will need to find out what assets the deceased owned, this will perhaps include bank and/or building society accounts, property, insurances and other investments. Depending on the type and the value of the assets, the PRs may then have to apply for a Grant of Representation.
Grants of Representation
There are different types of Grants of Representation. The most common are:
• Grant of Probate
• Grant of Letters of Administration
Grant of Probate
Probate is the process of officially proving the validity of the deceased’s Will. The original Will is lodged with the Probate Registry where it Is retained and archived. A legal document known as a Grant of Probate Is then issued to the Executors named in the Will.
Grant of Letters of Administration
If there Is no valid Will the deceased is said to have died ‘intestate’. The Administrators (usually the deceased’s next of kin) are entitled to apply for a Grant. The law of succession decides who the next of kin is and this follows a strict order of priority.
When is a Grant of Representation required?
It may not always be necessary to obtain a Grant. For example, if there are no other assets, a grant will not be needed where the deceased’s home is held in joint names and is passing by survivor-ship to the other joint owner.
Similarly where a joint bank account or building society account is held, production of a death certificate may be sufficient for the monies to be transferred to the joint holder. Sometimes a bank or other financial institution may release monies without a Grant being produced but this will only apply if the amount held by the deceased was small (commonly £5000 or iess). Application should be made direct to the bank or institution concerned to see if they will release funds without a Grant. This power is discretionary and the authority concerned is not obliged to exercise it.
In larger estates where Inheritance Tax is payable a Grant of Representation cannot be issued until the tax has been paid. The amount of Inheritance Tax will depend upon the value of the deceased’s estate at the date of death. The HM Revenue & Customs Capital Taxes Office deals with the tax.
Collecting and Distributing the Estate
The Personal Representatives will need to produce the Grant of Representation to the organisations holding money in the deceased’s name. This includes banks, building societies and insurance companies. This will enable the organisations to release the money and the Personal Representatives will be responsible for paying any funeral expenses and debts and taxes of the deceased.
Once this task has been completed the Personal Representatives will distribute anything left over in
accordance with the terms of the Will or if there is no Will to the persons entitled at Law on the deceased’s
How can we help?
Dealing with even the most straightforward and uncomplicated estate can be very time consuming and there are set procedures to follow. Our probate team has the necessary experience and understanding to ensure that the administration of the estate will be dealt with in an efficient, sensitive and professional manner.
A sample of some of the comments our Clients have made:
” …I would like to say how grateful we are to you for bringing the matters of Dads estate to this conclusion, all of which have been carried out most sufficiently and satisfactorily We would thank you also for dealing with our requests and handling such personal matters with sympathetic understanding, qualities much appreciated especially at the beginning of this process.”
“I would like to thank you for the efficient way that you and your assistant have handled the administration of my Fathers estate.”
“I would like to thank you and your associates for the work you have done on my behalf. It would otherwise have been an Impossible task. This has been an arduous few months, particularly for my parents, and the whole family is grateful for your efficient completion of the matter.”
“The family would like to thank you…..for the friendly and efficient way in which you have dealt with my mother’s Will. We shall have no hesitation in coming to Clayton Matt again, and in mentioning your name to friends.”
Clare de Ritter – Solicitor