Estate Administration (Probate)
When we lose someone we love, the legalities can often feel overwhelming. Here at Askews Legal we can assist you in all aspects of a deceased’s affairs.
What happens if there is a Will?
If an individual dies having prepared a Will then, the same will dictate what is to happen to their estate. The Executors (people named in the Will as authorised to carry out the terms of the Will) may need to apply for a Grant of Probate however, this will depend on the assets held by the deceased.
What happens if there is no Will?
If an individual dies having not prepared a Will then, their estate will be governed by a set of standard laws, known as the Intestacy Rules. These will dictate how the deceased’s assets are distributed and will not reflect any personal wishes. The Administrators may need to apply for the Letters of Administration, again this will be dependent on the value of the estate etc.
What is the role of an Executor/Administrator?
They will need to determine what the estate consists of which, will involve contacting banks, obtaining a valuation of the property and personal belongings etc. Once the values have been ascertained, an application is made to the Probate Registry for the Grant of Probate or Letters of Administration. Currently the time taken for the same to be issued is 6-12 weeks. Once obtained, this will allow the liquid assets to be collected in and the property to be sold. When the funds have been collected in and the property sold, provided all liabilities have been settled, the Executors/Administrators may look to distribute the estate.
The role can be time consuming and more often than not, Executors/Administrators instruct solicitors who have a wealth of experience and whom can prepare estate accounts, detailing the assets and liabilities of the estate, on their behalf.
How long will it take to finalise an estate?
The current pandemic has had a significant effect on the response times from banks, pension providers etc and although there is an improvement, it is still not as efficient due to the procedures now in place for handling and scanning information.
This aside there are also numerous factors to take into consideration that will also affect the time line, are there minor beneficiaries, shareholdings, property, is there inheritance tax to pay?
Whilst it is difficult to provide a definitive answer, we would normally expect a straightforward estate with no complexities, to be completed within 6-12 months.
How can Askews Legal assist?
We can provide you with all levels of service from advice only, preparing the application for the Grant of Probate/Letters of Administration, calculating inheritance tax, preparing Deeds of Variation, to full administration of the estate; to include contacting banks, utility providers, DWP etc.